Dueling Polls, Indiana Senate Edition
Dueling internal polls released Friday paint very different pictures of the Indiana Senate race in the wake of GOP nominee Richard Mourdock's controversial comments on pregnancies caused by rape.
Mourdock unveiled a poll Friday morning showing him tied with Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly at 44 percent each, with Libertarian nominee Andrew Horning at 6 percent. Mourdock significantly underperforms Mitt Romney, who leads President Obama 55 percent to 41 percent in the state.
The Mourdock campaign touted the results as evidence that Mourdock's debate gaffe didn't affect the state of the race.
"If the Democrats thought their sleazy tactics were going to put them in a more favorable position this week, they were clearly mistaken," Mourdock spokesman Chris Conner said in a release.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded by releasing their own poll later Friday. The Democratic survey shows Donnelly leading Mourdock 47 percent to 40 percent. The 7 point advantage is the largest lead in an internal poll released by either candidate or party over the past several months.
Both polls were conducted after Tuesday night, when Mourdock's answer to a debate question about abortion went viral and brought national attention to the Indiana race.
"I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said at the debate.
The DSCC poll found that 76 percent of likely Indiana voters have "seen or heard about comments U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock made in a recent debate that when a woman gets pregnant from rape it is something that God intended."
Mourdock, who upset Sen. Richard Lugar in the GOP primary earlier this year, was initially expected to win in the solidly red state. But Donnelly and his allies have kept the race close by portraying the state Treasurer as an extremist while touting Donnelly as a moderate.
The Mourdock poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday by McLaughlin & Associates. The survey of 600 likely voters has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.
The DSCC poll, conducted over the same time period by Anzalone Liszt Research, surveyed 446 likely voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.6 percentage points.