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Poll Shows Donnelly With 11-Point Lead Over Mourdock

Joe Donnelly, Richard, Mourdock, Andrew Horning

Photo: Michael Conroy/AP

Candidates for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat Democrat Joe Donnelly, left, Libertarian Andrew Horning, center, and Republican Richard Mourdock participate in a debate in New Albany, Ind., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.

A bipartisan poll out Friday shows that with just a few days left in Indiana’s Senate race, Democrat Joe Donnelly has surged to an 11 percentage point lead over Republican Richard Mourdock. But Mourdock’s camp contends the race is a lot tighter.

The Howey/DePauw poll, taken from October 28 to the 30, shows Donnelly with a 47 to 36 percent lead over Mourdock, while the vast majority of polls up to now had the race a statistical tie.

It also shows that more than four in ten voters have developed a more unfavorable opinion of Mourdock in the last week. But Mourdock pollster John McLaughlin says internal polling shows Mourdock not just in the lead, 46 percent to 44, but also with Mourdock gaining ground over the same time frame.

“There appears to be a lot more energy in the majority of voters of Indiana who happen to call themselves pro-life and that’s where we started picking up with our vote again, with those pro-life conservatives,” he says.

McLaughlin says the Howey poll, which was conducted in part by Democratic pollster Fred Yang, is a Democrat poll and says his survey is more accurate. But Yang says the Howey poll was also conducted by Christine Matthews, a Republican pollster and that it shows a clear picture forming.

“Not only is Mourdock losing independents by a three to one margin, he’s also, he’s getting, for example, 70 percent of Republican support. Mitt Romney’s getting 91 percent of Republicans,” he says.

Yang says he expects Mourdock to gain more Republican support by Election Day and doesn’t anticipate the final margin to be as high as 11 percent, but says Mourdock’s path to victory is much tougher than Donnelly’s.

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