Attorney General Eric Schmitt leads the front-runners with a 12-point edge in the GOP primary race for the open Senate seat in Missouri, according to a new poll.
The Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey showed that the tables have turned in the Republican primary. Schmitt took the lead in the race, receiving 33% of the votes. U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler came in second with 21%, and Eric Greitens fell behind with only 16%, a 10% drop in his support from the previous month.
Greitens’ numbers are significantly lower than a June poll conducted by Emerson that found he was leading in the race among 26% of GOP voters, with Schmitt at 20%, and Hartzler receiving 16%.The poll found that among the three front-runners, likely Republican voters in Missouri had the least favorable opinion of Greitens. It concluded that 61% have a somewhat or very unfavorable view of the former governor, who resigned in 2018 after sexual assault and campaign fraud allegations.
While Greiten’s numbers decline, 61% of Republican Missourians said they have a somewhat or very favorable view of his opponent Eric Schmitt, the candidate that recently received a prominent endorsement from Arkansas gubernatorial nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
In the Democratic primary, the poll showed that 39% of likely Democrat voters in Missouri plan on voting for Trudy Busch Valentine in the primary, but a close 35% support opponent Lucas Kunce, with 22% still undecided.
The most important issue to Republican voters in Missouri was the economy (57%), a number that is down 4% from June. Inflation hit a 40-year-high in June, with speculation rising that the economy will soon enter into a recession if it hasn’t already.
Democratic voters in Missouri believe that abortion trumps the economy as the number one issue the country is facing, following the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, effectively declaring that abortion access is not a constitutional right for all Americans and returning abortion regulations to the states.
Missouri Democrats ranked abortion as the leading issue at 27% of the vote, according to the Emerson poll, while only 19% of likely Democratic voters said the economy was the most important issue.
Among Republican voters, President Joe Biden had 17% approval, while 73% of Democrat primary voters in the state expressed approval of his presidency.
The president’s national approval rating hit an all-time low of 31% in early July, as many Democrats express they don’t want him seeking re-election 2024.
Current GOP Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., announced last year that he would not be seeking re-election in 2022, leaving the seat open and vulnerable in the midterms. The Missouri primary election will take place on Aug. 2, 2022.