Sen. Lugar, R-Ind., trails his conservative primary challenger, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock by two points in a new Club for Growth-sponsored poll of 500 likely GOP primary voters. Thirty-four percent of poll respondents said they support Mourdock, with thirty-two percent supporting Lugar, and fully thirty-four percent undecided.
Although the undecided figures might suggest that this race is still wide open, these are not good numbers for any incumbent. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans polled sai they agree with the statement that it's "time for a change" after 35 years of Sen. Lugar representing their state.
Take the poll with a grain of salt, since Mourdock will very likely receive the Club's endorsement. But a victory in the primary by Mourdock is not out of the question, and it would radically change Indiana's political scene.
A Mourdock win would probably create better chances for Democrats to take the seat, although Mourdock should not be considered a slouch (he's no Christine O'Donnell or Sharron Angle). Having fought the Obama Treasury Department's forced resolution of the Chrysler bankruptcy all the way to the Supreme Court, he just won statewide re-election as Treasurer in 2010 with 62 percent -- by a wider margin than anyone else on the ballot. Mourdock won all but three of Indiana's 91 counties.
The likely Democratic nominee for Lugar's seat is Rep. Joe Donnelly, D, a moderate who represents a north-central Indiana district that stretches from South Bend to Kokomo. Donnelly has already announced for the race after redistricting dealt him a bad hand for reelection.
See below for the text of the Club for Growth poll questions:
If the Republican Primary election for U.S. Senator was held today, and the candidates were Richard Lugar and Richard Mourdock, for whom would you vote?
Would you say the following statement is true or untrue? “Richard Lugar has done some good things for Indiana, but after thirty-five years in Washington, it’s time for a change.”
Don’t know/Refused 12%