Ballot Box

Welcome to Ballot Box 2016, your source for coverage of state and local elections—with a bit of presidential politics thrown in as well. Your hosts are Hayleigh Colombo (hcolombo@ibj.com) and Lindsey Erdody (lerdody@ibj.com).
Federal Government / U.S. Senate / Elections / Politics / Government & Economic Development / Government

Senate race heats up after poll tightens

September 15, 2016

A Democratic super PAC is swooping in to help Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Evan Bayh as Republican opponent Todd Young taps some GOP heavyweights to make the case for his election.

Bayh, a former governor and senator, was instantly favored to win election when he unexpectedly jumped into the race in July, but it appears the race is now becoming something of a tossup.

Last week’s WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana poll found Bayh to be leading Young by 4 points, within the margin of error. A poll released shortly after Bayh entered the race gave him a lead as wide as 21 points.

Senate Majority PAC has said it will make a big television advertising buy in Indiana this week to support Bayh. Meanwhile, Young has had both former President George W. Bush and House Speaker Paul Ryan visiting or making plans to visit Indiana to campaign on his behalf.

The Senate Majority PAC told Roll Call that it would take “nothing for granted as we work to win back the Senate this November.” But it declined to say how much it would spend in Indiana.

Indianapolis TV stations are already reporting ad buys from the Senate Majority PAC. WTTV Channel 4 said the PAC purchased 60 spots for a total of nearly $70,000. WRTV Channel 6 said it spent $37,000 on about 40 spots.

Democrats are trying to counteract heavy ad spending in favor of Young. The Senate Leadership Fund, a Super PAC supporting Republican Senate campaigns, plans to spend nearly $4 million on ads against Bayh, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Young’s campaign said Ryan will visit Fort Wayne on Friday for a fundraiser for Young. About 100 people are expected to attend the event.

Bush made two campaign stops this week in Indiana for Young, visiting Elkhart and Indianapolis.

The WTHR/Howey poll, which surveyed 600 likely voters from Sept. 6-8, found that Bayh has the support of 11 percent of Republicans, compared with 5 percent of Democrats who say they will support Young. Bayh is leading among women, 50 percent to 37 percent, and among minority voters, 57 percent to 30 percent.

Young is leading among male voters, 44 percent to 38 percent, particularly men over 55 years old, where he leads by 53 percent to 35 percent.

The candidates are essentially tied when it comes to the support of men ages 18 to 54, with Bayh a point up.

Bayh’s net favorable score is a positive 20, compared to Young’s net favorable score of a positive 8.

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report still lists the race as “Tilt Democrat."