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Indiana Senate - Mourdock vs. Donnelly


Joe Donnelly

Joe Donnelly (D)

Bio | Campaign Site

Richard Mourdock

Richard Mourdock (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Indiana Snapshot

RCP Ranking:
2012 Key Races:
Pres | Gov | IN-2 | IN-5 | IN-8

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

: Senate | IN-2 | IN-8
2008: President | Governor | IN-3
2006: IN-2 | IN-7 | IN-8 | IN-9
2004: President | Governor | Senate | IN-2

Polling Data

PollDateSampleDonnelly (D)Mourdock (R)Spread
Final Results----50.044.3Donnelly +5.7
Rasmussen Reports11/1 - 11/1600 LV4542Donnelly +3
Howey/DePauw*10/28 - 10/30800 LV4736Donnelly +11
Rasmussen Reports10/10 - 10/11600 LV4247Mourdock +5
Howey/DePauw*9/19 - 9/23800 LV4038Donnelly +2
Rasmussen Reports7/31 - 8/1400 LV4042Mourdock +2
Howey/DePauw3/26 - 3/27503 LV3535Tie

Race Analysis

10/30/2012 -- Richard Mourdock's comments suggesting that a child conceived in rape was part of God's plan have shaken up what was already an uncomfortably close Senate race. This state still has a Republican lean, and Donnelly would have to win over a large number of crossover voters to pull off the win. But this is now a pure tossup.

10/15/2012 -- Indiana regulates polling strictly, so we've been starved for information here. The best guess is that Mourdock is ahead, but that it is still a close race.

----------Race Preview---------

Indiana has always been distinct from other Midwestern states.  Unlike northern tier states such as Minnesota and Michigan, large portions of Indiana have a Southern heritage; unlike Ohio and Illinois, it lacks a massive industrial super-city that drew in Eastern and Southern European immigrants around the turn of the century. As a result, when most of the Great Lakes states were solidly Republican, it flirted with Democrats.  Now, with the Great Lakes states leaning Democratic or in the middle of our politics, the Hoosier State leans Republican.

Richard Lugar has been at the center of those politics for almost 50 years.  Elected mayor of Indianapolis in 1967 (defeating a Democratic incumbent by seven points), he compiled a solid record of accomplishment.  After an unsuccessful run against Sen. Birch Bayh in 1974, where he lost by five points in a strongly Democratic year, he went on to defeat the state's junior senator, Vance Hartke, by almost 20 points in 1976.  After winning re-election by eight points in 1982, Lugar has coasted, never falling below 60 percent.  In 2006, he failed to draw a Democratic opponent.

But as it turned out, danger lurked not in the general election but in the primary this year.  State Treasurer Richard Mourdock attacked Lugar from the right, claiming that he had become too moderate for the state and trying to capitalize on anti-Washington sentiment in the Republican Party.  Lugar was handily defeated.  Mourdock now faces Congressman Joe Donnelly in the general election.  Donnelly cast some votes -- most notably for Obamacare -- that make winning difficult for him.  But Mourdock could be a bit too conservative for the state; the race should end up a close one.