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Poll shows tight Missouri Senate race between McCaskill and GOP challenger Hawley

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley holds a slight lead on U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in a race that could decide control of the U.S. Senate, according to a new poll from a GOP-leaning firm.

Hawley, the top Republican recruit for the race, leads McCaskill, the Democratic incumbent, 48 percent to 45 percent, according to a poll of 965 likely Missouri voters. The remaining 7 percent of voters were undecided.

Hawley’s lead falls within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.05 percentage points. The poll was conducted by Remington Research Group, a firm affiliated with Republican strategist Jeff Roe, on behalf of Missouri Scout between Oct. 11 and 12.

The poll suggests a tight race a little more than a year out from the 2018 general election if Hawley prevails in the primary. None of the Republican candidates in the race were polled against McCaskill.

Neither Hawley’s campaign, nor McCaskill’s campaign immediately commented on the poll. McCaskill has repeatedly told reporters that she expects to be the underdog in the race, which promises to be one of the most expensive in the country.

The poll also indicates a potentially tight race between Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway, the only Democratic statewide official, and Republican David Wasinger in a year that Missouri Democrats will be playing defense in statewide elections.

Wasinger leads Galloway 42 percent to 41 percent with the rest of the voters undecided.

A little less than half of Missouri voters approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, according to the poll, which found that 48 percent of voters in a state he won by 19 points in November. Nearly as many, 47 percent, disapprove of his performance while the rest are unsure.

Gov. Eric Greitens, 10 months into his first term, holds an approval rating of 46 percent, according to the poll, while 39 percent of respondents disapprove of his performance.

Greitens’ office did not immediately comment on the poll.

Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3

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For all the challenges facing Republicans in the age of Donald Trump, Democrats are still struggling to define their message and approach, particularly in red states like Kansas and Missouri. The Star discusses the Democrats' dilemma with Gov. Howard Dean, former head of the DNC, and with Star staff members covering politics in the two states.

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