Todd Akin in Trouble: Pension Flap, Polls Dip, McCaskill Raises Record Money

Todd Akin Continues to Decline at Worst Possible Time

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Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., has less than five weeks to right a sinking ship. The latest news surrounding the conservative candidate for Senate involves his failure to report income from his pension plan payments received from the state of Missouri. Meanwhile, Akin's opponent has increased her lead in two major polls amid breaking a fundraising record in the Show-Me State.

How much does Akin's pension payments come to?

Akin claims he "inadvertently" filed disclosure forms without including several pension payments from 2002 to 2011. In total, Akin failed to report he earned more than $129,000 of payments for his service as a state legislator. Three payments amounted to $15,138 per year from 2009 to 2011, according to Akin's letter posted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Why is Akin's lack of reporting considered a flub?

Akin's campaign told the Post-Dispatch the discovery of the error was due to "an inquiry." The news media outlet claims it was reporting by the Post-Dispatch that led to Akin's examination into his personal finances through the House Committee on Ethics. The newspaper also reveals Akin also failed to disclose personal property assets of $355,000. The candidate amended those reports last year.

How has Akin's gaffes cost his campaign in terms of public perception?

Two polls released Wednesday favor McCaskill. A new Rasmussen Reports poll states 51 percent of likely voters favor the incumbent to 45 percent for Akin. The pollster notes this is the first time McCaskill has been over 50 percent. The survey talked to 500 voters on Tuesday.

Another poll by Public Policy Polling also shows the Democrat with a six-point lead. Out of 700 likely voters questioned from Monday to Wednesday, 46 percent chose McCaskill to 40 percent for Akin. An astounding nine percent favored Libertarian candidate Jonathan Dine.

What about fundraising for both candidates?

Akin's fall has been mirrored by McCaskill's apparent rise among donors. Over the last three months, she raised $5.8 million. The Springfield News-Leader reports that figure is a fundraising record for the state and is nearly twice what McCaskill brought in during the previous quarter.

As for Akin's fundraising clout, the National Journal reveals a fundraising event was held for him in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. Around a dozen people attended a luncheon despite four GOP Senators serving as honorary hosts.

What about support from Akin's own party?

A National Journal Political Insiders Poll posted Thursday indicates there is still support from his own party. Forty-six percent of 96 Republicans polled say the national party should back him financially because control of the Senate is at stake. On the other side, 35 percent of the 98 Democrats polled believe Akin should get support from the national committee.

William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics.

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