Ballot Box

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Elections / Politics / Government & Economic Development / Government

Poll: Indiana's high-profile political races getting tighter

October 6, 2016

Indiana's highest-profile political races have all gotten closer, according to a WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana poll conducted this week and released Thursday.

In the governor’s race, the poll of likely voters shows Democrat John Gregg's lead over Republican Eric Holcomb falling to 2 percentage points, with Gregg receiving 41 percent to Holcomb’s 39 percent. Gregg had a 5-point lead on Holcomb a month ago. Libertarian Rex Bell has 5 percent support, while 15 percent of voters are undecided.

The poll, conducted Oct. 3-5, indicates that the race between Democrat Evan Bayh and Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Young for retiring U.S. Sen. Dan Coats’ seat could be a barn burner. It shows the race in near tie, with 42 percent of likely voters choosing Bayh and 41 percent choosing Young. Libertarian Lucy Brenton has 8 percent support.

The poll also shows a narrower advantage for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He has 43 percent of the support among likely voters, compared to Clinton's 38 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 11 percent. Clinton's support is up 2 percentage points from the last WTHR/HPI's poll, conducted Sept. 6-8. Trump's percentage hasn't changed.

In the Senate race, Young has chipped into Bayh's lead slightly, considering the last poll found Bayh had a 4-point lead, with 44 percent support compared to Young's 40 percent. Brenton's support grew 3 points compared with last month. An August poll from Monmouth University showed Bayh had a 7-point lead over Young.

Nine percent of voters are still undecided in the race, compared to 11 percent last month.

Young’s campaign immediately released a fundraising email touting the poll result, asking donors to “seize on this momentum.”

The Senate race has been particularly expensive, with both sides and corresponding super political action committees spending millions of dollars on TV ads.

But Bayh, whose surprise entrance into the race was exciting for Democrats, undoubtedly has been hurt by attacks about his loyalty to Indiana and residency status since leaving the U.S. Senate.

“The more the truth comes out about Evan Bayh, the more Hoosiers are choosing Todd Young,” Indiana Republic Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell said in a written statement. “Evan Bayh chose DC over Indiana, and now voters are choosing Todd Young over him.” 

The latest WTHR/HPI poll was conducted by Gene Ulm of Public Opinion Strategies. It surveyed 600 likely voters, and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.