Howey Politics poll shows deadlock between Democrat Joe Donnelly, Republican Richard Mourdock

Republicans have leads for president, governor

INDIANAPOLIS - A new independent poll shows Republicans with substantial leads for president and governor in Indiana, but with a continued tight race for the U.S. Senate.

The respected Howey Politics Indiana poll shows another statistical dead heat for the senate race between Republican Richard Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly.

The focus the rest of the way for the two major parties will be winning the one big race that's definitely in play, the contest to succeed Richard Lugar in the Senate.

The new Howey poll shows Donnelly leading Mourdock by two percentage points, 40 to 38, in the U.S. Senate race, with Libertarian Andy Horning drawing seven percent.

The two points separating Donnelly and Mourdock is still within the 3.5 percent margin of error, so it's a statistical dead heat.

But Mourdock has several areas for concern.

His favorable/unfavorable ratings are bad, with 32 percent unfavorable, compared to 21 percent for Donnelly.

Mourdock has the support of a much smaller percentage of the Republican base than Donnelly has among Democrats.

And Mourdock only leads by 4 percent in the heavily Republican doughnut counties around Indianapolis, a sign he hasn't yet won over the Lugar Republicans strongly concentrated there.

"That tells me those Lugar Republicans have not come home yet," said Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, RTV6 political analyst. "I don't think it's irretrievable, but I think at this point in time, the Mourdock people's message is going to have to be, 'You may not like me, but you don't want to give Barack Obama a blank check with Joe Donnelly and Harry Reid.’"

The poll shows Republicans with substantial leads in the other two big races, with Mike Pence leading John Gregg for governor by 13 percent, and Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama for president by 12 percent.

"If you look in upper Washington Township or Hamilton County and some of those suburbs, where he's underperforming what a Republican normally does, that has to be very concerning to him," said Kip Tew, RTV6 political analyst.

The Donnelly campaign said the poll shows Hoosiers are rejecting Mourdock. But Mourdock aides said they're pleased to be where they are after millions of dollars in negative ads against their candidate and are confident about the remaining five weeks.

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