Internal polling must be showing that Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin has a good shot of beating the odds and defeating Claire McCaskill, because altogether Republicans are pouring $2 million into end game ads for the beleaguered pro-life candidate.

Of course, had Republicans not freaked out and abandoned him, would be in a much better place following his unfortunate explanation on August 19 as to why he opposed a rape/incest exception.

The establishment hurt him two ways: bad-mouthing him publicly and withdrawing financial help. By so doing they shot themselves in the foot by weakening their changes of retaking the Senate.

Nevertheless, in the 2-1/2 months Akin has had to go it alone, he hasn’t drowned. The last pre-election poll taken, by Public Policy Polling on November 4, has him down by only 4 points – on an upward trend:

PPP’s final Missouri poll finds Claire McCaskill holding on to a narrow lead over Todd Akin, 48-44. Libertarian Jonathan Dine is polling at 6%. Since our last poll two weeks ago McCaskill’s gained 2 points, while Akin’s seen a 4 point increase in his support.

Akin’s image isn’t getting any better. He now has a 29% favorability rating with 56% of voters rating him unfavorably, the worst numbers we’ve found for him to date. Nevertheless Republicans are starting to unify around him a little bit more as the election approaches- he’s gone from getting 74% of his party vote on our last poll to now 79%. He’s also pulled even with independents at 46%, although he’s still running 19 points behind Mitt Romney on that front.

“The big x factor in the Missouri Senate race is Jonathan Dine,” said Dean Debnam, President of PPP. “He’s pulling a lot of support from people who would otherwise vote Republican. If they stick with him, then McCaskill will win. But if they decide their desire for a GOP controlled Senate outweighs their disgust with Akin, then Akin will have a chance to pull the upset.

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll conducted October 23-25 showed the gap was even narrower – just two points:

Congressman Todd Akin has dramatically narrowed the lead of Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri’s nationally watched Senate race, according to a new poll.

The results show McCaskill leading with 45 percentage points to Akin’s 43 points among likely voters. That’s within the poll’s 4-point margin for error….

The Post-Dispatch poll found an unusually high 9% calling themselves undecided, less than two weeks out from the Nov. 6 election.

Republican internal polling must be showing such an upset is indeed possible, because Republicans are giving Akin last minute help.

The Now or Never PAC, which announced on October 31 it had made an  $800,000 television ad buy on Akin’s behalf, quickly bumped that up to $1 million a day later. The ad obviously has indecideds, Dine supporters, and Romney supporters all in mind. It’s a great ad…

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It also appears either the Republican National Committee or the Republican National Senatorial Committee has quietly given Akin belated financial support. From Politico, October 31:

Akin and the Missouri Republican Party are launching a nearly $700,000 TV ad blitz in the closing days of his challenge to… McCaskill, but the source of the funds for the effort is unclear.

These are the first ads run by the Missouri GOP in conjunction with Akin’s campaign. Of the total, $386,000 will come from the Missouri GOP to pay for the ad run, with the remaining supplied by Akin’s committee.

The NRSC declined repeatedly to comment on whether it is the source of the funds being used by the Missouri GOP on Akin’s behalf. Previously, the committee has insisted it would stay out of the race.

However, only national committees – the NRSC or the RNC – or individual campaign committees that raise money in compliance with federal limits are permitted to shift funds to a state party for a coordinated ad buy.

A spokesman for the Missouri GOP said it does not comment on its advertising strategy. The RNC could not be reached for comment.

Here’s that ad, featuring two women, a rape victim and a Russian immigrant…

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This ad is obviously appealing tom women, which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted in its poll had flocked to McCaskill, even while flocking to Romney, which means they are pliable:

A bright spot for McCaskill is the women’s vote, where she is ahead of Akin by nearly 10 points, although the margin of error is higher when the results are broken out by demographics. Still, the lead is more significant than it might appear at first because it’s in a state where Romney is leading Obama among those same female respondents.

“There is a big group of women there who have committed to Romney in the presidential race but are going to stick with McCaskill” in the Senate race, said Coker. “That’s the difference between Akin winning this race and Akin losing this race.”

[Photo via KSDK.com]