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« Craig Accepting Interns | Blog Home Page | MI Dems Take On Knollenberg »

Daniels Scores Big Lead

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has not been a fan of polls this year, given that several have shown him trailing or only barely squeaking by opponents Jill Long Thompson, a former congresswoman, and architect Jim Schellinger. But a new survey may have Daniels rethinking his love -- or lack thereof -- of polls.

The poll, conducted 2/16-17 by Gauge Market Research for Howey Politics Indiana, surveyed 500 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.5%. Daniels, Thompson and Schellinger were all surveyed. The sample was 52% Republican, 40% Democratic and 8% independent.

General Election Matchups with leaners
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Daniels 56 / 26 / 80 / 47 / 56 / 55
Thompson 33 / 62 / 10 / 28 / 33 / 32

Daniels 54 / 26 / 80 / 44 / 55 / 53
Schellinger 31 / 59 / 11 / 24 / 33 / 28

There is some good news for Democrats in the survey, though. Just 41% of respondents said they would want to see Daniels re-elected, while 43% said they preferred someone new. 40% of Hoosiers said the state is heading off on the wrong track, while only 37% say it's going in the right direction. Daniels' favorable rating is quite high, though, at 52%, versus just 23% who see him unfavorably.

For Democrats, the problem is one of name recognition. While Daniels is known by 96% of the state, just 21% say they know Schellinger, and a tiny 8% say they have an opinion about him. Long Thompson is known by only 42% of the state's residents, and only 22% know her well enough to form an opinion.

Daniels' turnaround may be attributable to his property tax plan, which 61% of respondents favor and only 25% oppose. Property taxes were a key reason former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson lost his bid for re-election last year in one of the most shocking upsets of 2007.

If Schellinger or Long Thompson can spend the money to define themselves early, Democrats could make life uncomfortable for Daniels. But at the moment, after several polls made the race too close to call, Daniels looks like he's clearly in the driver's seat. On the other hand, if he gets stuck in a long trial -- Daniels is spending today reporting for jury duty in Marion County, the AP reports -- maybe Democrats have a shot.