New Indiana Poll: Donnelly Up Big; Pence Comfortable; Bennett Underperforming

New Indiana polling is out just in advance of the election in a couple of days. Pence is up comfortably over Gregg but not by as big a margin as he once was. For me, the Governor’s race is really a shame because I think Gregg’s background would make him a really good Governor – and he’s not hugely liberal or anything. His political instincts are a good fit for Indiana. Pence is a movement conservative and will govern to the right of where, I think, most Hoosiers feel comfortable.

The big headline grabber is that Mourdock’s support has cratered with Donnelly leading that race 47 to 36 with Andy Horning getting 6%. Sounds like Mourdock is getting the Tea Party support that helped him beat Senator Lugar, but nothing else.

And a surprising one for me is that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has only 40% support with Glenda Ritz just 4% behind. Bennett has had all the money in this race which makes me surprised that he’s only at 40%. This might just be a function of most Hoosiers not knowing much, if anything, about these candidates or this race — which might be reason enough to consider making this office an appointed, rather than elected, position.


  1. Joe says

    Doug, who ran a worse campaign in your opinion – Mourdock or Gregg? As much as I want to say Mourdock, the more I think about it, I’m coming around to Gregg.

    I understood why Jill Long-Thompson’s campaign went nowhere in 2008. But after the mess that was Gregg’s campaign, the Indiana Democratic Party needs to rethink what they’re doing. They ran against a candidate in Mike Pence who did nothing in Congress over a decade and said nothing in his campaign and got nowhere. Four years to prepare for this campaign and this is the best they could muster?

    • says

      Joe, I think you pose a good question. I was shocked at how Gregg alienated two key constituencies very early in the campaign with his position on gay marriage (enunciated on the opposite side of the President, within one day of Obama making his statement) and on right-to-work. Trying to out-conservative Pence (or at least go ‘me too! me too!’) was an interesting strategy, to say the least.

      But that was early, and Gregg has managed to recover a lot of ground since then. Had he not taken those two positions? I believe he’d be in striking distance right now.

      Mourdock obviously has the gaffe of the season, and it coming so late in the season makes it impossible to overcome. A gaffe isn’t the same as a campaign strategy, though. Still- Mourdock was geared for the primary win only. Never seemed to have a plan that could take him the whole route. Sure, run hard to the base for primary and dive to the center for general is a typical pattern for either side. But it shouldn’t be lost in the mix that he was takinig some positions that the hard right was cringing at, such as conceding that there were some parts of the health care law that he was ok with.

      At the end, probably Mourdock’s was the worst, in the sense that he could have won. I don’t think Gregg would have won even with a flawless campaign.

      • Joe says

        Thanks for the insight from experience, Mike.

        I have to admit I saw an article about the matter that pretty much summed up what I saw as far as issues with Mourdock’s post-primary campaign:

        If Mourdock loses, the proximate cause may well be his ill-fated rape comments at the candidates’ final debate. However, Friday’s poll shows another factor is at work: Mourdock’s inability or unwillingness to consolidate state Republicans, including those faithful to former Sen. Richard Lugar (R), the man Mourdock bested in the GOP primary.

        The bottom line, writes Indiana analyst Brian Howey, is this: In Indiana, what went around for Mourdock in the April primary may be going around for Donnelly in October. The bump in Donnelly’s polling numbers is identical to the size of Mourdock’s spring bounce, which led Howey to forecast a “potential landslide” for Mourdock for the primary.

        That landslide came to pass. But Mourdock, Howey writes, misinterpreted that result.

        “Just 15% of those Republican voters had voted for Mourdock because of his Tea Party ideology. Most voted Lugar out because they thought he was too old and had been in Congress too long,” Howey writes. “Mourdock and his campaign took the landslide victory for opposite reasons, believing it had validated his Tea Party stances against bipartisanship and consensus.”

        It’s telling that Mourdock is winning just 70 percent of Republican voters. Instead of consolidating the Lugar Republicans, Mourdock in May went on cable television and began a gaffe spree by quipping that his favorite thing is “to inflict my opinion on someone else.” It is that attitude, Howey writes, that “sowed the seeds for his probable defeat on Tuesday.”

  2. Mary says

    The same could be said of the Democratic effort in the campaign for Evan Bayh’s vacated senate seat in 2010 resulting in Indiana electing an empty suit former senator turned 10-years-absent lobbyist who expressed the desire/plan to move to (somewhere like) North Carolina rather than a sitting congressperson with a record as an exemplary officer of the law/first responder. How did they do that?

    • John M says

      It’s tough to win statewide office as a Democrat in Indiana. It takes some particular sort of name recognition on the part of the Democrat or some negative rep on the part of the Republican for it to happen. I share your opinion of Coats, but I’m not sure that 2010, an off year election and a Republican wave election, was the time for even a solid candidate such as Ellsworth to knock off a Republican with statewide name recognition.

  3. Mary says

    I just had this thought that no matter who wins, if Mourdock does what he says he’d do and Donnelly acts according to his past record, at least Indiana has Senate representation. Has anyone even heard the name of our soon-to-be “senior senator” in the two years since the last election? How many times he’s visited Indiana since then? A statement from his local office (there must be one somewhere)? How many votes he’s cast in the Senate and how he’s cast them? What committees he’s on and what they’ve had in the way of hearings? Even how often he golfs or where he spends most of his time? Does he even exist?

  4. BAW says

    Joe Donnelly was campaigning in Southern Indiana last week. Donnelly is taking nothing for granted, with Mourdock it’s double down time. The Indianapolis Star website has an interesting discussion about the senate race in the comments section. I’ll be rooting for Joe Donnelly even though I’m across the Ohio River here in Louisville and can’t vote for him.

  5. Carlito Brigante says

    Mourdock, or his PAC friends, have apparently made some big ad buys. One commercial features four or five middle-aged, middle- to- upper middle-class women and ends with line, “even if I don’t agree with everything Mourdock stands for …” and ends on something dissing the Dems.

    Mourdock sees the errors of his statement, but cannot likely overcome it.

    • Mary says

      Saw Donnelly out and about this morning and he looks like he’s in a good mood. Also seems aware of how/why the tide has seemed to turn and just who it is that makes up that tide. It would be humbling, would it not, to be the accidental beneficiary of your opponent’s hubris? Not to say he hasn’t worked hard and smart, because he has, but if he wins, it is apparent what put him over the top.

  6. Carlito Brigante says

    CNN calls the race for Donnelly.

    No comments yet on the presidential race, but CNN called Indiana, Kentuck and West Virginia for Romney. So it was a complete sweep for Romney in the Oxycontin belt.

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