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Survey samples
Questions from the Citizens United poll included:
•Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of Richard Mourdock? (Six possible answers ranged from “very favorable” to “very unfavorable” and included “no opinion.”)
•Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of Richard Lugar? (Same answer range as above.)
•If the election for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator from Indiana was today, and the candidates were Richard Mourdock and Richard Lugar, for whom would you vote? (Three possible answers included “undecided.”)

Lugar foes say race is tightening

Their polls show gains, but incumbent still ahead

Lugar
Mourdock
Donnelly

Polls commissioned by his opponents suggest Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., might be in a tight race for his party’s nomination.

Citizens United Political Victory Fund said Monday that 45.4 percent of likely Republican voters favor the six-term incumbent in the May 8 primary election, compared with 39.2 percent who back Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer and 15.3 percent who are undecided.

The Citizens United political action committee endorsed Mourdock last summer.

A survey done for Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, the lone Democratic candidate for Senate, presents the same picture: Lugar is picked by 45 percent of GOP respondents and Mourdock by 39 percent, with 16 percent undecided, according to results released Sunday.

Both questionnaires found that many voters might change their minds: 50 percent in the Citizens United survey and 45 percent in the Donnelly poll.

Global Strategy Group of New York conducted Donnelly’s poll. The survey was taken March 12 to 15, involved 500 likely Republican voters and had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

“We’ve known for months that Senator Lugar was in the fight of his life. This poll shows that he’s losing that fight,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said in a statement, citing a Global Strategy Group poll last year that had Lugar ahead of Mourdock by 12 points.

Democrats have made no secret of the fact they would rather Donnelly face Mourdock than Lugar in the November general election.

Wenzel Strategies of Columbus, Ohio, conducted the poll for Citizens United, a conservative group in Washington. It was taken March 14 to 16, and involved 678 respondents, with a margin of error of 3.74 percentage points.

“Richard Lugar’s time has passed, and this poll confirms that Hoosiers are ready for a change,” David Bossie, president of Citizens United, said in a statement.

“Hoosiers aren’t buying what Lugar has been trying to sell with $2 million worth of TV and radio ads, mostly attacking Richard Mourdock,” Chris Conner, spokesman for Mourdock’s campaign, said in a statement.

Andy Fisher, campaign spokesman for Lugar, said in an email about both polls: “Even after more than a year of negative attacks by Richard Mourdock and his special interest friends – Senator Lugar continues to lead. Richard Mourdock is stuck in the 30s.”

A February poll taken by Lugar’s campaign gave him a much larger cushion. National Research Inc. of Holmdel, N.J., reported Lugar was supported by 55 percent of likely GOP primary voters, compared with 30 percent for Mourdock.

Lugar’s survey was conducted Feb. 8 and 9, and involved 600 people with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The Citizens United poll had Rick Santorum in the lead among Republican presidential hopefuls in the Indiana primary. Santorum was picked by 33.9 percent of Hoosiers surveyed, Mitt Romney by 28.3 percent, Newt Gingrich by 11.1 percent and Ron Paul by 5.9 percent.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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