JEFFERSON CITY — A poll released Monday by St. Louis University and YouGov shows a “statistical dead heat” in Missouri’s race for governor, with Republican Gov. Mike Parson leading Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway by just 2.2 percentage points.
Parson’s slight advantage — with 41.0% of respondents favoring the incumbent and 38.8% favoring Galloway — is within the survey’s 3.95% margin of error. Undecided voters were 17.0%, while 3.2% of those surveyed said they would vote for another candidate.
The inaugural SLU poll surveyed 900 likely Missouri voters between June 23 and July 1.
In addition to the governor’s race, the survey found President Donald Trump holding an advantage over former Vice President Joe Biden, with Trump garnering 49.6% support to Biden’s 42.5%.
Undecided voters represented 4.1% of those surveyed, while 3.8% said they would support another candidate.
Trump won Missouri four years ago by nearly 19 percentage points over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“His (Trump’s) 7% lead in Missouri today is noticeably less than half of his 2016 winning percentage,” Kenneth Warren, associate director of the poll, said in an analysis. “He has lost ground because his support has dropped in virtually all demographics.”
Warren said the race for governor was tightening. An April poll by MoScout and Remington Research found Parson maintained a 13% lead over Galloway.
“Our polling shows this gubernatorial race to be in a statistical dead heat,” Warren said, “so turnout among traditional Republican and Democratic bases will be key.
“Unlike in the presidential race where only 4% of Missouri voters said they were undecided in our poll,” he said in his analysis, “17% said they were not sure which candidate they would support for governor, creating a lot of uncertainly about this race about four months before Election Day.”
Meanwhile, the poll found 50% of respondents approved of Trump, with 32% of those respondents saying they strongly approved of the Republican president.
Forty-eight percent disapproved of Trump, with 43% saying they strongly disapproved.
Forty-seven percent of respondents approved of Parson, with 14% saying they strongly approved. The poll found 43% disapproved of Parson, with 22% of those respondents voicing strong disapproval.
Nine percent of respondents weren’t sure whether they approved of Parson.
SLU and YouGov used responses from 450 likely voters to estimate support for Parson’s and Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The poll found 48% of likely voters approved of the president’s handling of the pandemic, while 51% disapproved of it. Forty-four percent of those polled strongly disapproved.
Respondents were split on Parson’s handling of the pandemic, with 48% approving of his leadership compared to 48% disapproving of it.
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