Opposition to Stem Cell Research Hurting Missouri Senator

Missouri is generally a conservative state. In 2004, President Bush won by seven points (up from three in 2000), while Sen. Kit Bond (R) topped his opponent by 13.

But last week, President Bush flew into St. Louis to help raise funds for Missouri Sen. Jim Talent (R), one of Bush’s “most reliable allies on Capitol Hill,” but also “one of the most endangered” incumbents to Senate. Why is Talent in such dire straights?

Partly, Missourians are upset with President Bush and his rubber-stamp supporters in the Senate. (Bush’s approval rating in Missouri is down to 36 percent.) But more tellingly, “analysts believe Talent is being hurt by his opposition to a ballot measure to protect stem cell research from state restrictions,” called the Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.

Consider this St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll on the stem cell ballot initiative released this week:

Even in Missouri, opposing research into the potentially live-saving benefits of stem cell research is a political albatross.