The Corner

Elections

Two Polls Give Republican Challenger the Lead against Joe Donnelly in Indiana Senate Race

Indiana has a state law on the books forbidding pollsters from robocalling or even autodialing voters — which means its elections are more difficult to poll and thus more difficult to predict. In this year’s Senate race, there have been just a handful of surveys, and, until the last few days, the majority of them gave a slight lead to Democratic senator Joe Donnelly, who’s facing a challenge from Republican businessman Mike Braun.

Just yesterday, a SurveyUSA poll gave Donnelly a meager one-point lead, leading Braun 41-40 percent.

But two recent polls tell a different story from what we’ve seen all race. Yesterday, the Braun campaign released an internal poll showing the Republican with a four-point lead, ahead of Donnelly 44-40 percent. Independent candidate Lucy Brenton had 7 percent support.

This morning, an Indy Politics survey conducted by Mason Strategies also showed Braun ahead by four points, leading the incumbent 47-43 percent, while Brenton polled at only 3 percent. According to the poll, 35 percent of voters said Donnelly’s decision to oppose the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh made them less likely to support him, while 30 percent of voters said they’d be more likely to vote for him as a result.

In 2016, Donald Trump won Indiana by 19 points, and now-senator Todd Young, a Republican, defeated Evan Bayh — a Democrat who had represented Indiana in the Senate and retired in 2010, before running again in 2016 — by nearly 10 percent.

The Senate race this year is rated as a tossup by most major outlets, but these new polls seem to reflect a shift in momentum that matches the profile of a contest in which a Republican challenger is seeking to unseat a bland, ineffective Democrat in a red state where President Trump remains popular.

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