Missouri is one of the more predictable states covered on State of Affairs, but in this election nothing is certain. The southern state was once considered a battleground state in 2008, since then Missouri has become steadily more conservative. A small margin win for McCain eventually gave rise to a large win for Romney in the state of Missouri. This trend has caused less campaign activity in the state for the 2016 presidential race. In fact, studies show that Missouri has become increasingly more conservative since 1996.
Missouri is proving these trends to be correct, with Donald Trump leading in most polls of the state. The RCP national polling average currently has Trump leading by three points. Although this is not the largest margin in the nation, a similar lead has held steady for long enough that Missouri is considered a solid red state.
Although the Presidential race is less contested than in battleground states, the governor race in Missouri has garnered more attention. The Democratic nominee won his spot easily while the Republican contest was closer.
The race is now down to Eric Greitens (R) and Chris Koster (D). This election is particularly interesting as Koster was a member of the GOP until 2007. This has caused Koster to have some unique approaches to key issues, including his opposition to gun control legislation. This stance has caused the NRA to endorse Koster over Greitens, an unusual move for the organization.
While Missouri is focused on some of the larger national issues, such as Medical Marijuana legalization and Abortion reform, local issues are also present in voter’s minds. These include ethics reforms for legislators, debate over funding for an NFL stadium in St. Louis, and transportation funding. Going forward, it seems as if local issues and politics are prevalent, and will greatly affect the 2016 Presidential election in Missouri.