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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

A Working America Message from the field: Coalition Leverages Akin Fiasco for Dems in MO

Note: Working America, the AFL-CIO’s community organizing affiliate with over 3 million members, is the largest and most active progressive organizing initiative operating today in white working class and lower middle class communities. Working America does extensive door to door canvassing and organizing, collecting unique data on the evolving attitudes of moderate and persuadable “Average American” voters. TDS will periodically share their “Messages From The Field” which provide unique insight into this key voting group.
Over the past week, we’ve found that people in Missouri are very aware of–and upset by–Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about rape and pregnancy.
We have 75,000 members in Missouri, and we’ve had some 8,000 conversations at the door over the past month. We’ve been talking to a targeted audience of persuadable swing voters in Missouri, in the suburban areas around St. Louis. In the neighborhoods we’ve visited, people are upset by what Akin said.
· Each of our canvassers in the St. Louis area is hearing people bring up Akin’s comments, unprompted, 5 or 6 times a night.
· Responses are strongly negative. The most common reaction is shock and anger.
· “I really just can’t believe any woman would vote for Akin after his comments,” one member said, and that sentiment came up frequently.
· We’ve had success noting that it’s not just women’s health he is extreme on. We were able to pivot to his stance on issues like Social Security and taxes.
We called the members in Missouri who joined over the previous week to find out their take.
· 79% of the people we called had heard about Akin’s comments.
· 63% of those surveyed reported a “strongly” negative reaction to Akin, and 27% a “somewhat” negative reaction.
· “Shame on him for saying that…I thought it was horrible,” one member said.
We also sent an email survey to members in Missouri. Our email list members tend to be more progressive and engaged, but we heard responses from voters across the political spectrum.
· 39% of members who responded said Akin’s comments made them less likely to vote for him.
· “While I am pro-life, the comment that Mr. Akin made–that women who are raped do not get pregnant as often because their bodies can prevent it–is so wrong that I would never vote for a person who believes and shares that error.”
· “Originally, I was in favor of Akin. However, his comment about abortion was just wrong, as was his comment about federal student loans being a ‘cancer.'”
· A few respondents said that they were upset and disappointed by Akin even though they still planned to vote for him over Sen. McCaskill.
Karen Nussbaum, Executive Director
Working America

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