The Washington Post

Donnelly leads Mourdock by 11 in Indiana Senate race, bipartisan poll shows

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) has opened up an 11-point lead over state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) in the Indiana Senate race, a bipartisan poll released Friday showed. 

Candidates for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat Libertarian Andrew Horning, left, Democrat Joe Donnelly, center, and Republican Richard Mourdock greet one and other following a debate in New Albany, Ind., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. (Michael Conroy -- Associated Press)

Donnelly leads Mourdock 47 percent to 36 percent in the Howey/Depauw poll conducted by Democratic pollster Fred Yang and Republican pollster Christine Matthews. Libertarian Party candidate Andy Horning claims 6 percent support in the poll, while roughly one-in-10 voters (11 percent) remain undecided.

Mourdock stoked controversy in a late October debate with Donnelly when he said, "I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” While Mourdock expressed regret for his remark, he appears to have sustained political damage in its wake. 

The previous Howey/Depauw poll, conducted in September, showed a tossup race, with Donnelly at 40 percent and Mourdock at 38 percent. The latest poll was conducted after Mourdock's controversial remark. 

Donnelly holds a wide, 51 percent to 17 percent, lead among independents, and his support among women has increased by 12 points. In the September poll, Donnelly led Mourdock 41 percent to 35 percent among women. He leads 50 percent to 32 percent in the latest survey.

While the Howey/DePauw poll shows Donnelly with a significant lead, a poll released Friday by Mourdock's campaign tells a different story. The Republican is at 46 percent in his own poll, compared to 44 percent support for Donnelly. The McLaughlin & Associates poll was conducted for the Mourdock campaign from Oct. 31-Nov. 1. The Howey/Depauw survey was conducted from Oct. 28-30.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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