U.S. Senate challenger Todd Akin's support in Missouri has plummeted since his remarks a week ago about "legitimate rape" and pregnancy, putting him 9 points behind Sen. Claire McCaskill in a race he was previously winning, according to a new Post-Dispatch/News 4 poll.
More than half of Missouri voters now view the Republican congressman unfavorably, the poll indicates, and fewer than one in five view him favorably.
Akin's fall is especially dramatic among women. They were about evenly split between Akin and McCaskill in a similar poll at the end of July, but women now oppose him by almost 20 percentage points. Even in rural areas where Akin retains the lead, his support has dropped significantly from a month ago.
"I was undecided ... Now I'm not supportive of him," said Bonnie Walker, 75, of Queen City, who was one of the poll respondents. "It's such a negative for Missouri."
Akin, long a staunch opponent of abortion rights, was comfortably leading McCaskill, the incumbent Democrat, before the recent controversy. A Post-Dispatch/News 4 poll in July, before the Republican primary, showed Akin ahead of McCaskill by 5 points in a hypothetical matchup, 49-44.
In other words, what was shaping up to be a cakewalk for Akin is now turning into a bloodbath for McCaskill. Akin's support among men is still dead even, 46-44...but women now prefer McCaskill 55-37.
The poll also finds Mitt Romney ahead in the state by 7 points, 50-43. Tying Romney to Akin isn't working. Yet.