Poll: Blunt behind Nixon

McCaskill-Talent race too close to call
Monday, January 23, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:31 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A new poll shows Gov. Matt Blunt trailing potential Democratic challenger Attorney General Jay Nixon in the race for governor, based partly on overwhelming opposition to Medicaid cuts that Blunt's administration has championed.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch/KMOV-TV poll released Saturday found no clear leader in the race for the U.S. Senate between State Auditor Claire McCaskill and incumbent Sen. Jim Talent.

The poll of 800 likely Missouri voters showed strong opposition to Medicaid cuts that eliminated about 300,000 residents from the program. But it indicated high support for increasing the state's tobacco taxes and a proposal to protect embryonic stem cell research in Missouri, if it is allowed by federal law.

The poll, conducted by Maryland-based Research 2000 Monday through Wednesday, has an error margin of 3.5 percentage points. It indicates that Nixon would defeat Blunt if the election were held today, rather than in 2008.

Nixon led Blunt 51 percent to 43 percent, outside the 3.5 margin of error. But a sampling of those who support Nixon, who has not officially declared his candidacy, indicated that they chose him largely based on dissatisfaction with Blunt, the Post-Dispatch reported.

"The best news for Matt Blunt is that he's not up for election this year," said Del Ali, whose firm conducted the poll.

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