As we are aware, the Missouri Senate race being defended by Democrat Claire McCaskill has been in turmoil for the last few weeks. A Senate seat that was widely expected to be won by the GOP is now, at best, questionable because of a statement made by her Republican challenger, Todd Akin.

Akin stated, when asked if he supported abortion in the case of rape, replied, “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”

I’m not here to defend the part about pregnancy, or even to try to clarify what Akin mean by ‘legitimate rape’. Everyone knows what he was talking about; he was just goofy in the way that he said it. I know, we hate politicians who say things in a clumsy fashion. It probably would be like telling an audience of African-Americans that if Republicans win, they’ll be back in chains.

But Akin’s statement, if it resonated among suburban voters, could provide an impetus to vote for Democrats. So virtually every Republican disavowed the comments, and money was moved away from his candidacy, in order to induce him to drop out. Conveniently, a PPP poll was released on the day that Akin was to make his decision showing him with a slight lead over McCaskill. He then decided to stay in the race, and used the polling data as a rationale. If Akin would have left, the Republicans would have named another candidate, who would have likely been favored over the incumbent.

A Rasmussen poll has been released showing that Akin was 10 points behind. This poll shows that, unless something major changes, this race is unwinnable for the GOP. The interesting thing about these two polls is that PPP is a Democratic poll. So a Democratic poll provided information that induced an unwinnable Republican candidate to remain in the race. The following day, Mason Dixon released a poll with McCaskill enjoying a 9 point lead. PPP then doubled down, showing a mere 1 point lead for the incumbent Democrat.

The other interesting thing about the PPP result is that McCaskill’s campaign urged Republican primary voters in television ads to vote for Akin, since he was the more conservative candidate. She now is stating that he should not withdraw, since ‘elections are sacred.’ Polls sometimes are off, as we all know. Rarely, though, is there such evidence of a pollster and a partisan campaign working together to provide the result that they want.