Polls show Lugar in trouble in GOP primary
Two polls -- neither one from unbiased sources -- show that Senator Dick Lugar's re-election campaign is in big trouble.
Richard Mourdock has closed within single digits of Sen. Dick Lugar in the Indiana GOP Senate primary race, according to a pair of polls commissioned by groups seeking to oust the six-term incumbent.
Both polls -- one paid for by Citizens United, the other by Rep. Joe Donnelly's campaign -- produced the same result: Lugar ahead by just 6 points, 45 percent to 39 percent.
The Citizens United-Wenzel Strategies survey last week of likely primary voters shared first with POLITICO has 15 percent undecided.
The Global Strategy Group survey for Donnelly highlights Lugar's shrinking margin.
"In October 2011, Lugar lead Mourdock by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent," writes pollster Jef Pollock. "Today, that margin is cut in half, 45% to 39%."
While the head-to-head data is promising for Mourdock, the internal numbers in the Wenzel poll reveal that the state treasurer has a ways to go in defining himself with just two months left before the primary.
Half of primary voters still aren't able to register an opinion of him, leaving his favorable rating at just 31 percent.
That's 22 points behind Lugar's favorable rating of 53 percent. About a third of primary voters -- 34 percent -- view Lugar unfavorably.
Nonetheless, the race remains fluid with roughly half of voters indicating they are open to changing their mind and Mourdock aides believe it demonstrates that Lugar's $2 million in television ads have failed to stymie his challenger's climb.
This may be the most convincing evidence to date that Lugar's positive and negative messaging isn't cutting through and that his spending advantage is being nullified by a media narrative that is raising questions about his detachment from the state.
The trend line is ominous. Lugar is losing support while Mourdock is gaining adherents. And for a supposedly beloved politicial figure in the state. that 53% favorable rating is low.
Still, Lugar has a huge money advantage and a statewide organization that is running rings around Mourdock. It is still an uphill climb for the challenger, but at this point he has Lugar in his sights.