Poll shows Carnahan, Talent in dead heat

Sunday, August 25, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- A poll conducted for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV-TV shows a close race in Missouri's U.S. Senate campaign.

The poll conducted by John Zogby will be published in a copyright story in the Sunday edition of the Post-Dispatch and was posted late Friday on stltoday.com, the Post-Dispatch Web site. It shows Republican nominee Jim Talent with 47.1 percent support, compared to 46 percent for incumbent Democrat Jean Carnahan.

Because the statewide survey of 801 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, the results indicated a virtual dead heat.

But Zogby, whose firm conducted the poll last week, said the results tell him that Talent "has some momentum." That's because Carnahan's standing among likely Missouri voters appears to have slipped slightly, Zogby said.

Talent's gains are tied to a dramatic improvement in his standing among St. Louis-area voters, and among men, compared to a poll Zogby took in April, also for KMOV and the Post-Dispatch.

Carnahan's decline in support appears entirely due to her plummeting status among likely male voters, nearly half of whom rated her as "slightly unfavorable" or "very unfavorable." That's up dramatically from 32.3 percent in Zogby's April poll.

The latest poll shows Talent and Carnahan with almost identical favorable ratings: 56.9 percent for him, and 55.9 percent for her. But Talent's rating represents a significant increase from his April rating.

The April poll showed Carnahan leading Talent by 49.6 percent to 43.9 percent.

"What makes this particularly stunning is that we're capturing a Democratic-leaning mood in the rest of the country," Zogby said. "She's got to do something now to stop the slide."

Zogby tied Carnahan's problems, in part, to the success of the attacks on her competency lobbed by Republicans and some Washington analysts.

Carnahan continues to enjoy strong support from women, with about two-thirds giving her a favorable rating.

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