Lugargeddon: New Poll Shows Mourdock Over Lugar by 5%
It’s no wonder Lugar has turned out two different Mitch Daniels ads in under a week, and has escalated its campaign of phony false attacks against Richard Mourdock.
Their internal polling must be telling them the same thing.
Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar has fallen behind state Treasurer Richard Mourdock by five points, according to a new poll released Thursday.
The survey, taken Tuesday and Wednesday by Wenzel Strategies on behalf of Citizens United, places Mourdock at 44 percent and Lugar at 39 percent. Nearly 17 percent remain undecided with just 12 days to go until the Indiana Senate primary.
Wenzel found that Mourdock’s lead is powered by self-described tea party conservatives, who comprise 36 percent of the GOP electorate.
Among that group of voters, Mourdock holds a commanding 63 percent to 24 percent lead. Lugar’s ability to keep the race close is due to moderates and traditional conservatives, which both favor the incumbent, according to Wenzel.
Lugar’s favorability rating has slid nine points since the last Wenzel survey six weeks ago. It now stands at 44 percent, compared to Mourdock’s 38 percent.
Both candidates’ unfavorable ratings have climbed — a by-product of the nasty air and mail campaign.
In mid-March, a Wenzel survey showed Lugar clinging to just a 6-point advantage.
Citizens United drops the the new polling data just as the rhetoric on both sides is reaching a boiling point.
The Wenzel poll surveyed 601 likely primary voters and has a margin of error of nearly 4 percent.
Lugar’s defense has been to attack the pollster, which is traditionally the refuge of campaigns that don’t want to admit a poll is too close to the truth for comfort.
Lugar campaign manager Emily Krueger said the campaign’s internal polling shows “Dick Lugar is, was and will remain in the lead,” but declined to disclose their data.
“Wenzel Strategies has been widely discredited as a non-credible polling firm, most recently after releasing a poll claiming to show 20% of Republicans leading toward Obama in the 2012 election,” Krueger said.
It occurs to me that, in Indiana, I don’t doubt that some not-insignificant percentage of Republicans leaned toward Obama, thanks in no small measure to Dick Lugar’s de facto endorsement of him.
Conservative challengers, once in the lead in primaries like this, seldom look back.