SLU/YouGov Poll: Schmitt Has 11% Lead in Missouri U.S. Senate Race
President Biden’s and Senator Hawley’s approval ratings fall by at least 6% since July 2021
The August SLU/YouGov Poll interviewed 900 likely Missouri voters about Missouri’s 2022 U.S Senate race and political issues facing Missouri. In a head-to-head matchup, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt leads Democratic Candidate Trudy Busch Valentine 49% to 38%, with 8% of voters saying they are undecided.
Half of Missourians are displeased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and fewer Missouri voters approve of President Biden, Governor Parson, and Senators Blunt and Hawley’s performance compared to findings from the July 2021 SLU/YouGov poll.
Missouri U.S. Senate Race: Schmitt v. Valentine
- Schmitt leads Valentine among female, suburban, and independent voters
- 77% of voters who disapprove of President Biden’s performance support Schmitt
- 56% of voters who believe the U.S. Economy is “Fair” or “Poor” support Schmitt
- 69% of voters who disagreed with the overturning of Roe v. Wade support Valentine
- When including former Independent candidate John Wood in a 3-way race, 44% of voters supported Schmitt, 31% supported Valentine, 10% supported Wood, and 13% were undecided.
Abortion and Supreme Court Findings
- 50% of voters disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade
- 51% of voters disapprove of the U.S. Supreme Court’s performance
- At least 75% of voters believe it should be possible for a Missouri woman to legally obtain an abortion in cases of rape, incest, or when the pregnancy endangers a woman’s life
- 48% of voters would support an initiative to reverse the new ban on abortions in Missouri. 40% would vote to continue the ban. 13% were not sure.
National and Missouri Political Figures
- President Biden’s approval rating is 36%, a 9% drop since July 2021
- Governor Parson’s approval rating is 50%, a 3% drop
- Senator Hawley’s approval rating is 46%, a 6% drop
- Senator Blunt’s approval rating is 35%, a 5% drop
- The Missouri State Legislature’s approval rating is 46%, a 3% drop
The margin of error for the full sample of the survey is ± 3.75%.
Missouri U.S. Senate Race
The latest SLU/YouGov Poll shows Republican Eric Schmitt leads Democratic Candidate Trudy Busch Valentine, 49% to 38%. Five percent of voters said they would support another candidate, and 5% indicated they were undecided. Schmitt holds a 19% lead among white voters, a 13% lead among male voters, and a 10% lead among female voters. Schmitt also holds 42% and 9% leads among rural and suburban voters. Valentine meanwhile has more support in St. Louis, Kansas City, and among younger voters.
“These results should comfort Republicans as their U.S. Senate candidates in other red states struggle in the polls,” said Steven Rogers, Ph.D., director of the Saint Louis University/YouGov poll. “Some Democrats wished scandal-plagued Eric Greitens would win the contested Republican nomination to recreate a contest like the one where Claire McCaskill defeated Todd Akin. But it seems likely Schmitt will be Missouri’s next U.S Senator.”
Independent candidate John Wood dropped out of the U.S. Senate race on Tuesday, Aug. 23, but when voters responded to the SLU/YouGov poll, Wood was still a possible candidate. When asked about a three-way contest between Schmitt, Busch, and Wood, 44% of voters supported Schmitt, 31% supported Valentine, and 10% supported Wood. Three percent said they would support another candidate, and 13% were undecided.
“Wood dropping out unlikely affects the outcome of this race,” said Rogers. “Schmitt holds a strong lead over Valentine, and Wood was fairly evenly drawing supporters away from both Schmitt and Valentine.”
Thirty percent of Wood supporters in the three-way matchup supported Schmitt in the two-way matchup between Schmitt and Valentine; 29% of Wood supporters supported Valentine.
Roe v. Wade and Missouri Abortion Ban
With its ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively making it illegal for most women to have an abortion in Missouri. Forty-seven percent of Missouri voters agreed with the decision, 50% disagreed, and 4% were not sure (margin of error ±5.83%). Forty-eight percent of voters said they would support a ballot initiative to make abortions legal again in Missouri. Forty percent of voters would vote to continue the ban on abortions, and 13% were not sure (margin of error ±5.93%).
Eighty percent of voters who agreed with overturning Roe v. Wade support Eric Schmitt in the U.S. Senate race. Schmitt recently sued the city of St. Louis to prevent women from receiving an abortion in another state. Only 11% of Missouri agreed that “a Missouri woman should be criminally prosecuted for receiving an abortion in another state” (margin of error ±5.83%).
Voters Unhappy with Federal Government; Hawley’s approval falls below 50%
As Republicans try to retake Congress in the 2022 elections, only 22% of voters approve of Congress’s performance (margin of error ±5.83%), and 15% think the United States is on the wrong track (margin of error ±5.93%). Only 36% of voters approved of President Joe Biden’s performance, which is a 9% decrease from the July 2021 SLU/YouGov poll.
“The president’s party typically does poorly in midterm elections, and President Biden’s popularly is not helpful for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot,” said Rogers. “It is a little over two months until the election, but Republicans likely have a solid hold on Missouri.”
Missouri’s U.S. Senators’ approval ratings also fell in the last year. Josh Hawley’s 52% approval rating was the highest among federal political figures in the July 2021 SLU/YouGov poll, but his approval fell to 46% in August 2022. Retiring Senator Roy Blunt’s approval also fell from 40% to 35% across the two polls.
Governor Mike Parson is the most popular political figure in Missouri, among those asked about on the survey, with 50% of voters approving of the Governor’s performance and 44% disapproving.
Methodology and Funding
YouGov interviewed 900 likely Missouri voters between August 8, 2022 and August 16, 2022. The YouGov panel, a proprietary opt-in survey panel, is comprised of 1.2 million U.S. residents who have agreed to participate in YouGov Web surveys. Using their gender, age, race, and education, YouGov weighted the set of survey respondents to known characteristics of registered voters of Missouri voters from the 2019 American Community Survey. The margin of error for the weighted data is 3.75%. Reduced samples of voters answered some questions, and margins of error for these questions are indicated above. The SLU/YouGov Poll is funded by the PRiME Center in SLU’s School of Education and the Saint Louis University Research Institute Big Ideas competition, which provides funding to research initiatives that demonstrate broad faculty engagement, strong leadership and compelling research plans.
Saint Louis University has partnered with YouGov to conduct its annual survey of Missourians. YouGov conducts surveys for multiple academic institutions and is the primary, trusted survey firm for media organizations, including CBS News and The Economist. An independent Pew Research Center study of online survey firms in 2016 further concluded that YouGov “consistently outperforms competitors.”