WASHINGTON - Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) took a hit with Missouri voters after his controversial remarks about rape during a St. Louis television interview, according to a new Rasmussen Poll released Thursday.
The poll shows Akin down by 10 points to incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). The telephone survey showed McCaskill with 48% of the vote, while Akin garnered 38%. Five percent were undecided, and nine percent of those surveyed said they supported a different candidate.
It was a large momentum shift after an Aug. 12 SurveyUSA poll showed Akin leading McCaskill by 11 points. In that poll, Akin was predicted to receive 51% of the vote. A Public Policy Poll released Monday showed Akin still ahead by one point.
Akin's campaign responded to the new polling information with the following statement:
"The fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48% after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is. If she can't break fifty percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down. Todd is in this race to win; we will close this gap and win in November with the support of the grassroots in Missouri and across America."
Akin came under fire on Sunday when KTVI in St. Louis aired Akin's comments regarding rape and abortion.
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said of rape-induced pregnancy in an interview with KTVI . A clip of the interview was posted online by the liberal super PAC American Bridge.
"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin continued. He did not provide an explanation for what constituted "legitimate rape."
He added: "But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."
Akin later apologized for the remarks, saying he misspoke and released an ad asking for forgiveness from Missouri voters. After several organizations pulled advertising money from the congressman's campaign, Akin put out a plea for his supporters to raise $100,000. He tweeted Wednesday night that he reached that goal.
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