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Lugar Appears Headed For Defeat In Primary

The latest poll of the Indiana Republican Senate primary is not at all good news for Dick Lugar:

A new poll shows Treasurer Richard Mourdock building a commanding lead over Sen. Richard Lugar.

The Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll, conducted by two prominent Republican and Democratic pollsters, shows Mourdock with a 48 percent to 38 percent lead over Lugar.

Voters will decide the fate of Lugar, a six-term incumbent, in Tuesday’s primary election.

The poll was conducted April 30 to May 1 of 700 likely voters by Republican Christine Matthews of Bellwether Research and Democrat Fred Yang of Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group. It has margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

The poll shows a dramatic slide for Lugar, who in his last election in 2006 won with more than 80 percent of the vote after Democrats considered him so unbeatable that they didn’t field a candidate against him.

Only about a month ago, a Howey/DePauw Battleground poll showed Lugar leading Mourdock 42 percent to 35 percent.

When voters who were not solid in their support for a candidate yet and were merely leaning in one direction or the other are removed, Mourdock is still leading 43 percent to 35 percent over Lugar.

Yang said that in January, he conducted a poll for the Indiana Democratic Party which showed 56 percent of Hoosier Republicans were ready to make a change in the Senate and elect someone else. This poll, he said, shows that may happen as Republicans appear poised to reject Lugar.

Interestingly, it doesn’t appear that this is just a reflection of Tea Party anger at Lugar:

Sixty percent of the Republican primary voters in he poll want a senator “to focus first on trying to solve many of our country’s problems, even if that means working with elected officials across the aisle to do it.”

Only 30 percent said they wanted a senator to focus first on standing up for conservative principles.

Yet those same voters are poised to reject Lugar, who has come under withering criticism for working with Democrats, and instead choose Mourdock, who has said he will focus on building a Republican majority so big that no one has to seek compromise with the other party.

It may just be the case that Lugar, who was elected to the Senate in the same election that gave Richard Nixon his second term, has outstayed his welcome.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. reid says:

    Mourdock, who has said he will focus on building a Republican majority so big that no one has to seek compromise with the other party

    Great, just what Washington needs. Let’s hope the Democrats field a good candidate this time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. legion says:

    It sounds like, as the election season rolls around, Republicans across the country will have no idea whether to appease sane conservatives who are sick of the BS the GOP has run with for the past 4 years or Tea Parties who want more of the exact same BS. High-larious.

    Dr. Frankenstein, this is your monster. Have you met?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    So that will be basically the last Republican grown-up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  4. al-Ameda says:

    Senator Lugar is 80 years old, his time is up. He’s from an era when Republicans were center-right, now they’re right-hard right and he is obsolete.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Neil Hudelson says:

    Two things:

    1. Yes he is probably toast (see my comments on the last article). The possible saving grace for Lugar right now is his GOTV operation, which is massive. Mourdock’s so far seems to be “Let’s make a couple of phone calls, and have some out-of-state volunteers knock on a few doors.” Marion county will probably decide this election, and if Lugar can turn out the vote, he might–just might–pull off a win.

    2. What are the possibilities of Lugar running a write-in campaign for the general? He has won elections in the past with 88% of the vote. Indeed, he has such crossover appeal in Indiana that for many election cycles Democrats haven’t even bothered to run a candidate against him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Franklin says:

    Lugar seemed like a reasonable fellow to me. I hope Mourdock gets crushed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    If Lugar loses the primary but then pulls a Murkowski that would be ironic. If Mourdock wins the primary and Lugar bows out and then Mourdock loses the general, and the GOP winds up one seat short of a Senate majority, that would be bionic Ironic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. @legion:

    It sounds like, as the election season rolls around, Republicans across the country will have no idea whether to appease sane conservatives who are sick of the BS the GOP has run with for the past 4 years or Tea Parties who want more of the exact same BS.

    As noted previously, Mourdock is a career politician who has successfully run for statewide office before, and is not Tea Party purist, so this isn’t really equivalent to the Angle or O’Connell races from two years ago. The people backing that interpretation seem to be suggesting that for a party to ever run anyone besides the incumbent is “insanity”, a extreme position that is just as foolish as running somone with no experience whatsoever.

    If anything, this shows that the Tea Party is starting to mature, having realized it’s not enough to bring down the incumbent unless you also have a realistic alternative to offer in their place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Tlaloc says:

    If anything, this shows that the Tea Party is starting to mature, having realized it’s not enough to bring down the incumbent unless you also have a realistic alternative to offer in their place.

    I can’t see how attacking and quite possibly replacing a sure thing candidate with a much less likely candidate just because the latter is more willing to kiss the hard right’s ass is a sign of maturity. They could hold IN with absolutely no question and instead they have chose to roll the dice simply because Lugar isn’t reactionary enough. As a result they, once again, threaten their goals in favor of appeasing their need for absolute conformity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. PD Shaw says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Thanks for the local perspective. I circled back to this story hoping you’d comment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. legion says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I see evidence that pulls both ways. I certainly think there are times to throw out an incumbent – even one with seniority – if his behavior warrants it but statements like this:

    Yet those same voters are poised to reject Lugar, who has come under withering criticism for working with Democrats, and instead choose Mourdock, who has said he will focus on building a Republican majority so big that no one has to seek compromise with the other party.

    Don’t sound like anything more than the TP’s standard line of “our way or the highway; compromise be damned!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. @legion:

    he will focus on building a Republican majority so big that no one has to seek compromise with the other party

    As opposed to every other politician in congress who, I suppose, have no desire whatsoever that their party have undisputed control of the federal government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. legion says:

    @Stormy Dragon: You’re being a bit silly here. I’m sure lots of pols would find in convenient not to have to deal with an opposition, but I haven’t seen _anyone_ except people currying the TP vote (and Mitch McConnell) actually campaign on a platform that explicitly states: “I will not govern in the name of anyone who doesn’t vote for me” – because that is _exactly_ what that sentence means. It’s a shockingly divisive and anti-small-d-democratic statement, and shows just how dangerous to his actual constituents he would be if elected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. superdestroyer says:

    The real question should be is why is Lugar representing a state that he has not lived in in more than 30 years. My guess is that Lugar likes being a Senator and likes the power and pampering that comes with being a Senator. That he is disconnected with Indiana means nothing to him.

    I did some consulting work on the decommissioning of Jefferson Proving Ground in southern Indiana. Instead of giving the local communities a stake in the closed facility, Lugar used special legislation to give the usual portion of Jefferson Proving Ground to a friend. Of course, this irritated the local communities and caused them to fight tooth and nail all of the clean up efforts.

    Lugar”s stupidity costs taxpayers a huge amount of money and caused JPG to have less economic value after it closed. If this is just one example of Lugar’s stupidity, my guess is that he and his staff has messed up many things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Mourdock, who has said he will focus on building a Republican majority so big that no one has to seek compromise with the other party

    Democracy? Who needs that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0