With two weeks until Election Day, Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly released an internal poll Tuesday showing a 2-point lead over Republican Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Senate race.
According to the survey of 603 likely voters, the race is a dead heat with Donnelly at 40 percent, Mourdock at 38 percent and Libertarian Andrew Horning with 8 percent. The memorandum underscores that Donnelly leads Mourdock among independent voters by 5 points in the face of a fundraising gap.
From Global Strategy Group:
“Despite spending millions—and outspending Joe Donnelly by nearly 2 million dollars—Richard Mourdock simply has not been able to convince Hoosiers that he is the right man for the job. Hoosier voters know that for Joe Donnelly, it’s about bringing people together to do what is best for the people of Indiana, not about divisive tactics that put politics ahead of what is best for Hoosiers.”
Previous polls have had similar results, with Mourdock’s internal survey giving him a 3-point lead and an independent poll putting the race at a statistical tie.
For most of the campaign, Mourdock has had trouble with his base and lacks support from outgoing U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar. The Indiana race is becoming more important at the national level, and is now considered a “can’t lose” seat if Republicans want to win control of the Senate.
One bright spot for Mourdock is President Obama’s unpopularity in the state, where he trails Republican challenger Mitt Romney in most polls and could be a burden for Donnelly down the stretch, as Democratic officials have pointed out.
In the end, Donnelly probably can’t win the Senate seat if Obama loses the state to Mitt Romney by more than 10 percentage points because of the tendency of many voters to vote along party lines, said Evan Bayh, the former Democratic senator who won re-election in the state in 2004 as Republican George W. Bush won his second term.
“It depends on the magnitude of the president’s margin,” Bayh said. “When it gets into double digits, it’s just a bigger burden to carry.”
The two are scheduled to hold their second and final debate at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany tonight.