We have three new Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) developments worth paying attention to today:
● A new Rasmussen poll has Akin down 10 points to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D); if confirmed in other polling, it indicates that the flap is causing at least temporary solid damage.
● Akin reports raising $100,000 in new donations in the wake of the controversy. The key here is that $100K from a major national controversy is . . . awful. Comparison point: Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” moment rapidly raised over $1 million — and that was for a member of the House in 2009, far from election season. A tenth of that for a U.S. Senate candidate is pathetic.
●Mike Huckabee has announced his support for Akin and urged him to stay in the race.
Putting this all together: What we have here is a candidate who has been rejected by most of the Republican Party, with the exception of the faction most concerned with abortion.
Two things we can say about it. One is, as I argued yesterday, that he’s probably a hopeless cause. I’ve seen a lot of people suggest that organized Republicans would jump back into the race if it’s close in October, and that might be true . . . but Akin is going to have some trouble keeping it very close because without Republican money, it’s going to be hard for him to stay competitive. Remember, some unknown but fairly large percentage of campaign money is really party money and responds to party cues; with most of the non-Huck portion of the party actively bashing Akin, he’s not seeing much in that case, despite all the publicity.
But the other part of it is the support of a major party faction may turn out to be enough to keep Akin in the race. That’s somewhat true as far as money is concerned (what he’s raised isn’t much, but it’s something); it may also turn out to be true in terms of the candidate’s own thinking, in which he can persuade himself that he remains a rebel outsider with the true believers on his side against the oppressive GOP establishment. As others have said, Akin won his primary without formal endorsements from the organized groups who are bashing him now, so it’s easy to imagine him (mistakenly) believing that they aren’t needed for the general election, either.
As I always say, there’s no way of knowing what’s inside of a politician’s head, and so it’s impossible to predict whether Akin will eventually drop out or not. But the events today seem to put him more and more on the course of staying in — and losing. And remember, every Senate seat counts.