Nate Silver observes the "small lead" that Missouri's Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin has held in the polls over the Democratic incumbent, Claire McCaskill, and then ventures:
[W]e’ll have to wait for polling data to see what impact this has on the race.... [M]y view is that insensitive comments concerning rape are especially likely to be deemed inexcusable by voters, and that the swing against Mr. Akin could be larger than the average of 10 percentage points from similar events.
Dear Nate: Have you been to Missouri lately?
My view is that if Akin previously held, say, a 48-44 lead over McCaskill, he'll plunge to a 47-45 lead. This is because outstate Missouri's estimation of Akin will grow to a 99-percent-as-good-as-good-ole-boys-get-he-just-"tells-it-like-it-is" favorability, while metropolitan Missouri will ask: Who the hell are Todd Akin and Claire McCaskill?
I'm largely joking, of course. I have no firmer grasp of the future than Nate Silver. On the other hand I doubt Mr. Silver has spent much time in Missouri. I have. And I'm here to tell you that the stories you've been reading of relentless polarization and immutable partisanship and triumphant ignorance have their basis in Missouri's Republicanism, in which "OK, that's finally too stupid" remains an undiscovered frontier.