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« Senators Work To Replace Lott | Blog Home Page | Long Day In Mississippi »

Big Trouble For Daniels

He's not facing the best candidate Indiana Democrats could have put up, but incumbent Hoosier Governor Mitch Daniels is in some serious trouble, according to a new poll conducted for the Indianapolis Star. Daniels, who served as President Bush's head of the Office of Management and Budget before winning election in 2004, finds himself trailing two possible Democratic candidates.

The poll, conducted 11/13-16 by Iowa-based Selzer & Co., surveyed 600 registered voters and 449 likely voters. The margin of error, among likely voters, is +/- 4.6%, and 4% among registered voters. Tested alongside Daniels were architect Jim Schellinger and former Rep. Jill Long Thompson.

General Election Matchups (LVs only)
Schellinger 44
Daniels 40

Thompson 44
Daniels 43

Daniels has seen a dramatic reversal in his approval rating during his tenure. Just 40% approve of his job performance while 50% disapprove. That's a big change from March 2005, when 55% approved of Daniels compared with just 30% who disapproved. Only 35% think Indiana is headed in the right direction, while 57% say it's off on the wrong track.

Indiana's political climate has long been dominated by intensely local issues. State politicians get in trouble for trying to change the state's multiple timezones, and Daniels has taken flak for leasing Indiana's toll roads to a foreign country. 48% of respondents said the lease has been mostly a bad deal for the state, while just 31% call it a good deal.

Daniels has raised plenty of money, and his bid will certainly be aided by the Democratic primary still to come. But as if finding himself under 50% wasn't bad enough, actually trailing both Democrats has to be a sobering wake-up call for the first term governor.