Incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is tied with Republican challenger Josh Hawley, while by other measures she is trailing all of her potential GOP challengers in the November race. The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows that McCaskill and Hawley are a “toss-up” with 45 percent and 43.3 percent of voter support, respectively.
However, a poll conducted by Gravis Marketing indicates that McCaskill is trailing both Josh Hawley and fellow Republican Austin Petersen by more than the margin of error. Petersen commissioned the poll. He ran as a Libertarian presidential candidate in 2016.
The Gravis poll asked Missouri voters for whom they would vote in November if their choices were either McCaskill and Hawley or McCaskill and Petersen. In the former, 50 percent of those poll chose Hawley while 43 chose McCaskill. In the latter match-up, 56 percent chose Petersen as opposed to 40 percent who favor McCaskill. The margin of error was 3.4 percentage points. McCaskill polled better than her Republican challengers among voters ages 55 to 64 and older. Survey were 38 percent Republican, 36 percent Democrat and 26 percent independent.
Petersen polls especially well among young voters (ages 18-29) when matched with McCaskill. Having described himself as pro-life, pro-liberty, pro-Constitution, he said in a statement after the release of the poll that both Hawley and McCaskill are “career politicians” who seek “professional gain over honest representation of the electorate." Hawley, however, is better funded than Petersen, while McCaskill has deeper pockets than either. The Republican primary, which comes in August, is down to two candidates after Rep. Ann Wagner, a former Missouri Republican chair and ambassador under George W. Bush, pulled out of the race last year.