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.
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
Claire McCaskill extended tax cuts for small businesses and workers and supports new tax credits to help students, workers and first time home buyers.  She supports increased taxes for people earning over $1 million a year. 
Sarah Steelman opposes any increases to taxes and instead supports a single-rate tax system. 
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. 
Sarah Steelman supports the Balanced Budget Amendment. 
Claire McCaskill opposes any cuts to social security. 
Sarah Steelman has not spoken about social security.
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. 
Sarah Steelman opposes all government-run healthcare, including Obamacare. She supports free market solutions. 
Claire McCaskill supports legal abortion, but voted to prohibit partial-birth abortion except when the mother’s life is at risk. 
Sarah Steelman opposes legal abortion.  She would consider a constitutional amendment to state that life begins at conception. 
Claire McCaskill supported efforts to prosecute employers hiring illegal immigrants. She supports additional funding for border patrol. 
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. 
Claire McCaskill opposes gay marriage. She supports domestic partnerships or civil unions and voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. 
Sarah Steelman opposes gay marriage. She sponsored a bill to define marriage as between a man and a woman. 
Claire McCaskill supported legislation to provide Missouri women with free mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.  She opposed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and supports free contraception for women. 
Sarah Steelman aims to completely defund Planned Parenthood. 
Claire McCaskill supports additional federal funding for schools and wants to expand pre-school programs and Pell Grants. 
Sarah Steelman believes that federal interference in schools is damaging for education. 
Claire McCaskill supports the right to bear arms, but believes that assault weapons should be banned. 
Sarah Steelman supports the right to bear arms and opposes any efforts to force registration of firearms. 
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. 
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. 
Claire McCaskill supports the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. 
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. 
Sarah Steelman has not spoken about Iran.
McCaskill vs Steelman in Opinion Polls
|Poll source|| Date(s)|
|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%|
Comments: Claire McCaskill vs Sarah Steelman