Friday, August 24, 2012

Is Akin's rise attributable to rural folks?

That's the suggestion of this story from yesterday's New York Times, which analyzes the possibility that Todd Akin, the Republican nomination to be U.S. Senator for Missouri, can win the race following his recent foot-in-mouth comment suggesting that pregnancies don't result from "legitimate rape" because the woman's body has mysterious mechanisms to stop such conceptions.  John Eligon and Monica Davey's story discusses how Mr. Akin, who has served as a U.S. Representative from Missouri since 2001, got the coveted Republican nomination:
Yet [Akin's] ascent--and his prospects for survival--is a reflection of the state's political shift to the right in recent years.  Missouri, with its mix of rural and urban, Southern and Northern flavor, had for [   ] more than a century picked all but two of the nation's presidential winners.

In recent years, however, the state has had population growth in some of its more rural pockets in the southwest and in St. Charles County to the east, which Mr. Akin represents--areas made up of people who tend to be more conservative and Christian.  

The story goes on to note factors other than these "cultural" ones that have moved Missouri largely into the Republican column, including a sluggish economy and falling home values.  

In spite of Missouri's increasingly conservative political landscape, this story and other recent ones suggest that Claire McCaskill, the sitting U.S. Senator from Missouri and a Democrat closely aligned with President Obama, is experiencing a fund-raising boost in the wake of Akin's gaffe.  National Republican leaders have called on Akin to quit the race. 

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