Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lugar Stil Leading As Polls Show Race Tightening

Two polls taken independent from the campaigns of incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar and his challenger, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, confirm that the race between the two candidates seeking the Republican nomination is tightening. The Journal Gazette cites the results of polls taken by a political action committee backing Mourdock and the campaign of U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, who is seeking the Democratic nomination:
Citizens United Political Victory Fund said Monday that 45.4 percent of likely Republican voters favor the six-term incumbent in the May 8 primary election, compared with 39.2 percent who back Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer and 15.3 percent who are undecided . . .
A survey done for Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, the lone Democratic candidate for Senate, presents the same picture: Lugar is picked by 45 percent of GOP respondents and Mourdock by 39 percent, with 16 percent undecided, according to results released Sunday.
Both questionnaires found that many voters might change their minds: 50 percent in the Citizens United survey and 45 percent in the Donnelly poll.
It's surprising to see these polls indicating the race is this tight with still plenty of time before the May 8th primary. The Lugar campaign has been blitzing the airways for more than a month now, including some hard-hitting ads accusing Mourdock of not showing up for his job. Other than some small buys on cable TV, the Lugar offensive has virtually gone unanswered by the lesser-financed Mourdock campaign. My mailbox has been inundated with literature from the Lugar campaign, including several negative attack pieces. Whenever an incumbent is polling below 50 percent in a poll, he's regarded as being highly vulnerable.

The Citizens United Poll also showed Santorum with a small lead over Romney. Santorum was picked by 33.9 percent of Hoosiers surveyed, Mitt Romney by 28.3 percent, Newt Gingrich by 11.1 percent and Ron Paul by 5.9 percent. I look for Romney to easily win today's Illinois primary today over Santorum despite hopes the Santorum campaign has for pulling off an upset. Illinois Republican primary voters almost always favor the leading establishment choice in a Republican presidential race. I don't see them voting any differently this year. The tight finish in the Ohio primary between Romney and Santorum is probably a better indicator of where the race stands in Indiana. I noticed on the night of the Ohio election that Santorum won every county adjoining Indiana except the counties in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. I suspect Santorum will do well in rural Indiana and Romney will do better in the suburban and urban areas just like the race finished in Ohio.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These polls were apparently taken before the Marion County Election Board ruled that Senator Lugar had abandoned his residence in Indiana. Based on the wide press coverage and negative public reaction to the fact that Senator Lugar does not live in Indiana, what would the results be today?