This article presents an unbiased comparison of the political positions and policies of Claire McCaskill and Sarah Steelman, Democrat and Republican candidates respectively for the 2012 Senate elections in Missouri. Claire McCaskill is the incumbent and the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri.

Comparison chart

Claire McCaskill versus Sarah Steelman comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartClaire McCaskillSarah Steelman
  • current rating is 3.37/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(43 ratings)
  • current rating is 2.81/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(26 ratings)
Claire McCaskillSarah Steelman
Political Party Democrat Republican
Date of birth July 24, 1953 May 3rd 1958
Budget Supports spending caps Supports Balanced Budget Amendment
Social Security Supports No clear stance
Healthcare Aims to expand health insurance coverage to all Missourians. Opposes Obamacare
Medicare Opposes changes to Medicare No clear stance
Abortion Supports Roe v. Wade Opposes
Gay Rights Opposes gay marriage Opposes gay marriage
Immigration Supports crackdown on hiring of illegal immigrants. Supports crackdown on hiring illegal immigrants and increased border patrols.
Education Supports additional federal funding for schools. On student loans, McCaskill has said she supports the federal government "cutting out the middleman" and lending directly to students instead of guaranteeing loans made by banks. Opposes federal interference in education
Women’s Rights Supports Planned Parenthood, free contraception and health screenings. Aims to defund Planned Parenthood
Gun Control Opposes Opposes
Energy Policy Opposes EPA restrictions on greenhouse gases. Supports research into biofuels. Opposes EPA restrictions. Supports offshore drilling and drilling for gas.
Environmental Policy Supports Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act No clear stance
Iran Supports economic sanctions No clear stance
Logo of Republican and Democratic parties
Logo of Republican and Democratic parties

Early Life and Career

Claire McCaskill was born in Rolla, Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1975 with a BA in political science. She received her JD from the University of Missouri in 1978. She was elected to the US Senate in 2006.

Sarah Steelman was born in Jefferson City, Missouri. She gained a BA in History and an MA in Economics from the University of Missouri, and worked as an adjunct professor of Economics at Lincoln University of Missouri before being elected to the state senate in 1998. She became the Treasurer of Missouri in 2006.

Differences in Economic Policy

Tax Policy

Claire McCaskill extended tax cuts for small businesses and workers and supports new tax credits to help students, workers and first time home buyers. [1] She supports increased taxes for people earning over $1 million a year. [2]

Sarah Steelman opposes any increases to taxes and instead supports a single-rate tax system. [3]


Claire McCaskill has written legislation to cap federal spending and spearheaded the Pay-As-You-Go Act, which required spending or tax cuts to be deficit neutral. [4]

Sarah Steelman supports the Balanced Budget Amendment. [5]

Social Security

Claire McCaskill opposes any cuts to social security. [6]

Sarah Steelman has not spoken about social security.

Healthcare Policy

Claire McCaskill supports increased funding to cover health care for low-income children in Missouri. She supports Medicare and has voted for legislation prohibiting insurance companies from refusing to cover children with pre-existing conditions. [7]

Sarah Steelman opposes all government-run healthcare, including Obamacare. She supports free market solutions. [8]

Social Issues


Claire McCaskill supports legal abortion, but voted to prohibit partial-birth abortion except when the mother’s life is at risk. [9]

Sarah Steelman opposes legal abortion. [10] She would consider a constitutional amendment to state that life begins at conception. [11]


Claire McCaskill supported efforts to prosecute employers hiring illegal immigrants. She supports additional funding for border patrol. [12]

Sarah Steelman supports the building of a fence along the Mexican border, increasing border patrols and punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants. She opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants. [13]

Gay rights

Claire McCaskill opposes gay marriage. She supports domestic partnerships or civil unions and voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. [14]

Sarah Steelman opposes gay marriage. She sponsored a bill to define marriage as between a man and a woman. [15]

Women’s Rights

Claire McCaskill supported legislation to provide Missouri women with free mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. [16] She opposed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and supports free contraception for women. [17]

Sarah Steelman aims to completely defund Planned Parenthood. [18]

Education Policy

Claire McCaskill supports additional federal funding for schools and wants to expand pre-school programs and Pell Grants. [19]

Sarah Steelman believes that federal interference in schools is damaging for education. [20]

Gun Control

Claire McCaskill supports the right to bear arms, but believes that assault weapons should be banned. [21]

Sarah Steelman supports the right to bear arms and opposes any efforts to force registration of firearms. [22]

Energy Policy

Claire McCaskill opposed cap and trade legislation and opposes new regulations against greenhouse gas emissions. She supports the development of clean and renewable energy sources such as biofuels. [23]

Sarah Steelman believes the US should be energy independent by promoting drilling for natural gas, eliminating regulations on energy development and financing both alternative energy resources and further offshore drilling for oil. [24]

Environmental Policy

Claire McCaskill supports the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. [25]

Sarah Steelman has not spoken about environmental policy.

Differences in Foreign Policy

Position on Iran

Claire McCaskill supports economic sanctions against Iran until it ceases its nuclear activity. [26]

Sarah Steelman has not spoken about Iran.

McCaskill vs Steelman in Opinion Polls

Poll source Date(s)
McCaskill (D)
Steelman (R)
Rasmussen Reports June 7, 2012 39% 51%
Public Policy Polling May 24-27, 2012 44% 44%
Rasmussen Reports April 17, 2012 42% 49%
Rasmussen Reports March 14-15, 2012 41% 51%
Public Policy Polling January 27-29, 2012 43% 44%
Rasmussen Reports November 9, 2011 45% 47% 3%
Public Policy Polling September 9–12, 2011 43% 42%
Public Policy Polling April 28-May 1, 2011 45% 42%
Public Policy Polling March 3–6, 2011 45% 42%
Public Policy Polling Nov. 29-December 1, 2010 45% 44%


Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Claire McCaskill vs Sarah Steelman." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 21 Mar 2023. < >