Friday, May 04, 2012

Howey Politics Poll Shows Mourdock Leading Lugar By 10%

Political reporter Brian Howey is eating the words he made only days ago condemning the media for buying into polling data commissioned by a pro-Mourdock political action committee that showed Mourdock leading Lugar by 4%. Howey insisted the only reliable poll reporters should take seriously is one he jointly commissioned with DePauw University. Well, the numbers are in and they spell big trouble for Lugar. Here's what Howey is now saying about his new poll numbers showing a 10-point lead for Mourdock with just days to go before the primary election:

U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar's iconic career of elected public service appears to be in great jeopardy. A Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll conducted Monday and Tuesday shows that Lugar is trailing Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock 48-38% in Indiana's Republican Senate primary. That head-to-head figure includes so-called "leaners," who could conceivably change their minds in the final 72 hours of the campaign. Without the leans, Mourdock still leads 43-35%.

Based on this survey data, Howey Politics Indiana is moving the Senate race into a "Likely Mourdock" category. It had been "Leans Lugar" until the March 26-28 Howey/DePauw survey had Lugar leading Mourdock 42-35%, at which time HPI moved the Senate race into "Tossup."

The survey, conducted by Republican pollster Christine Matthews of Bellwether Research and Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, is based on 700 likely voters with a +/- margin of error at 3.7%. The sample was made up of 76% Republicans, 14% independent, 8% independent/lean Republican, 1% lean Democrat and 1% independent/lean Democrat. Survey top lines will be posted under the "Howey/DePauw Poll" tab at . . .

Yang observed, "Back in January 2011, I conducted a statewide survey on behalf of Chairman Dan Parker for the Indiana Democratic Party, and I found a surprising result in one of our questions: Richard Lugar had a 28% reelect to another term score, and fully 56% wanted to make a change and elect someone else, and this result was among Republican voters. Thus, the findings of that poll made clear that Senator Lugar was vulnerable to a single challenger in a Republican primary. And that's exactly what has seemed to transpire." Among Republicans, Mourdock had a 51-36% lead, and among the 44% of the Republican sample who called themselves "very conservative," Mourdock lead 63-26%. Should this trend continue through Tuesday's Republican primary, Mourdock will have pulled off one of the greatest upsets in modern Indiana history. Yang suggested that the final results may not be close . . .

Clearly, the stately Lugar's campaign going negative had repercussions. Lugar's hard favorable/unfavorables were both at 43%, while Mourdock's stood at 47/25%. And cross tabulations show Lugar lost support in Indianapolis, his hometown.

"While the Tea Party and other national groups got into this race because of what they consider to be Lugar's liberal transgressions, it appears that a bigger issue for GOP primary voters is simply his longevity," said Matthews. "It is a very difficult environment to be running as a 35 year incumbent." Matthews added: A plurality (44%) of primary voters identifies themselves as "very conservative" and, not surprisingly, they overwhelmingly favor Mr. Mourdock (63%-26%). So the balance of the electorate is somewhat conservative (33%) or moderate (19%) and, to win, Mr. Lugar would have to dominate among these voters.

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