UPDATE, 10:10p ET: Democrat Claire McCaskill has won the Senate race in Missouri, Fox News projects, beating out Tea-Party favored candidate Todd Akin.

Get the latest polls, political facts, figures and commentary when it comes to the key Senate race taking place in Missouri. Incumbent Claire McCaskill is going up against Tea Party-backed candidate Todd Akin.

Do you think Akin could pull off a win in the state?

Current Standing:
Claire McCaskill - 48.3%
Todd Akin - 42.0%


The state of Missouri can be divided into five basic political divisions. The Democratic base is in central Kansas City and St. Louis. Republicans run strong in the rural southwest, which has long been Republican, as well as in the band of counties stretching up the Missouri River from St. Louis to Kansas City, which were settled

by Germans in the 1800s. The fourth division is found in the Republican-tilting suburbs, while the fifth division is basically the rest of the state, which is essentially a salient of the South jutting into the heart of the state. Democrats' successes are normally dictated by how well they run in these latter two areas.

The fifth division historically voted Democrat, and kept the state in the Democratic column. But in the 1970s, three Republicans remade the state's map: John Danforth, John Ashcroft and Kit Bond. In 1970 Bond was elected the first Republican state auditor in 40 years. He was elected governor two years later, and Ashcroft succeeded him as auditor. Six years later Ashcroft succeeded Danforth as attorney general, who had likewise been the first Republican elected to the position since the Great Depression. Both Danforth and Bond would go on to be United States senators. Ashcroft, once again following Danforth, won the latter's Senate seat after his retirement in 1994.

The seat has since been subject to wild swings. Ashcroft was engaged in a tight battle with Gov. Mel Carnahan in 2000 when the governor was killed in a plane crash. Carnahan was elected posthumously, and his widow was appointed to his seat. She was defeated by Republican Jim Talent in 2002, who in turn lost to Claire McCaskill in 2006.

McCaskill has struck a bit of a populist tone in Washington, but the state has swung from the Democrats since her election. In 2008 it was the only swing state to vote for John McCain over Barack Obama, and in 2010 Roy Blunt defeated Robin Carnahan by 14 points to replace the retiring Bond. McCaskill's re-election numbers reflected this reality until her opponent, Rep. Todd Akin, claimed in an interview that a woman could not get pregnant as a result of "legitimate rape." Akin's numbers have plummeted, but McCaskill has yet to break the 50 percent mark. An Akin win seems unlikely, but isn't out of the question. (Real Clear Politics)