Poll gives Donnelly 11-point lead over Mourdock
November 2nd, 2012
08:19 AM ET
1 year ago

Poll gives Donnelly 11-point lead over Mourdock

(CNN) – A poll of likely voters in Indiana showed Democratic Senate candidate Joe Donnelly with an eleven point lead over GOP rival Richard Mourdock, whose comments on rape and abortion in October drew consternation from Democrats and some Republicans.

The survey from Howey Politics and DePauw University indicated Donnelly, a three-term congressman, was at 47% among likely Indiana voters in the race for the state's U.S. Senate seat, compared to 36% who support Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer. A Libertarian candidate, Andrew Horning, was at 6% in the poll.

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The Republican candidate for governor in Indiana, Rep. Mike Pence, led his Democratic opponent 47%-40%.

Indiana, which went for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in four decades in 2008, is considered a sure thing for GOP nominee Mitt Romney in the presidential contest. Friday's poll showed Romney leading President Barack Obama 51%-41%.

In May, Mourdock toppled longtime Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar in a bitter primary contest with the support of national, state and local tea party groups.

He drew fire earlier this fall for saying during a debate that pregnancies occurring from rape are intended by God. Mourdock was explaining his opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest when he made his remark.

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," said Mourdock. He added that he would allow for exceptions to an abortion ban when a mother's life was in danger.

Forty percent of likely Indiana voters in Friday's poll said those comments made them less likely to vote for Mourdock, compared to 6% who were more likely to vote for him and 54% who said the comments made no difference.

Mourdock later said he was sorry that people had misinterpreted his comments, but stuck by the crux of his argument that abortions should not be allowed in cases or rape or incest.

"I'm a much more humble person this morning because so many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the points that I was trying to make," Mourdock said.

"I'm confident God abhors violence and rape, if they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it," Mourdock continued. "I apologize if they came away, and I have certainly been humbled by the fact that so many people think that that somehow was an interpretation."

Romney, who recently appeared in a television ad endorsing Mourdock, said through a campaign spokeswoman that he did not agree with the Indiana candidate but that he had not asked for a television ad he recorded for Mourdock be pulled.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Pence, the Republican running for governor of Indiana, attempted to put space between themselves and Mourdock by repudiating the remarks.

Others, such as Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, came out in support of Mourdock. Cornyn is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

"Richard and I, along with millions of Americans – including even Joe Donnelly – believe that life is a gift from God. To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous," Cornyn said in a written statement.

Republicans are defending ten seats in the U.S. Senate, compared to 23 that are being defended by Democrats. The GOP seat in Indiana was long considered a lock for the party. Democrats currently control the chamber 53-47.

The Howey Politics/DePauw University was conducted by telephone from 800 likely Indiana voters from October 28-30, and the sampling error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Indiana • Joe Donnelly • Richard Mourdock
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republican men justify rape and say protect the unborn child. The way I see it, these Republican men are more interested in protecting the rapist and demonizaing the woman.

    November 2, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. pburkart

    Chris Christie has shown something very interesting this week:

    The ability to work across the aisle with the president, and showing that the President knows how to work across the aisle. Also, that it is ok for a Republican to show recognition of a great job being done by the president.

    Message to ALL Moderate Republicans:

    To take back the Republican party, you should vote for Obama.

    The FAR Right Wing of the party has domonated the politics for the past 2 years.

    The result...gridlock in Washington.

    We need politicians to work together to get this country moving again.

    The Ryan's, Murdock's and Atkin's out there will not move our country forward.

    The Governors like Chris Christie and the President will move this country forward with bi-partisanship.

    Vote for Moderation 2012!

    Let's get our country moving again!

    November 2, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  3. Blinded by the republican lie

    As he should be...Murdock put the nail in his political coffin when he opened his mouth...Talk about a real turn off.

    November 2, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  4. NameMarieCA

    I'm happy that Indiana realized how inept this candidate is. He is absolutely disgusting. Indiana, you are making your state proud.

    November 2, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  5. v_mag

    Apparently, the Neanderthal vote is not what it once was. In Texas, South Carolina, and some other places, politicians can still suck up to the paleolithic types and win, but Indiana appears to be more evolved than that.

    November 2, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  6. Lauren

    Excellent! Vote for Joe! I hope Donnelly wins big come November 6th!

    November 2, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  7. chilly g

    i love the hooiser states and i love the university of indiana basketball program, that being said please hooiser don't
    vote for this guy because he is not a reason person and would be good for the senate and he dispect woman

    November 2, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  8. Gurgyl

    Just vote direct democratic ticket. Obama12.

    November 2, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  9. v_mag

    "Democrats currently control the chamber 53-27."
    -–
    Would that it were true, but the last time I checked, there were 100 seats in the Senate.

    November 2, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  10. Squigman

    If this motherless creep gets elected, it confirms that the people are stark staring nuts. What a creep he is.

    November 2, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So I guess this means that if you are a Republican and talk about Rape, Pregnancy and Abortion ("Some girls are easy to rape", "You cannot get pregnant from Legitimate Rape", "It is God's Plan") you may as well give up on winning.
    While I do not believe in Abortion, I also know that I do not have the Right to force someone else to follow my moral course. I do recognize in some cases Abortion is a medical necessity, and in other cases that someone needs to remove the stigmatized reminder of a painful violation. I just find abortion as an alternative to birth control, or if you find out the child is not the gender you want to just not be right. When my wife and I had to face the possibility that our daughter could have Downs, we decided no matter what the results of the amnio were, that we would keep our child. She was born without any medical issues, for which we were grateful.

    November 2, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    The frightening thing is that so many GOP/Tea Party politicians and their supporters share the same Dark Ages views as Mourdock.

    November 2, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. Anonymous

    I am baffled that 37% of the voting population would still go for him. He would force women who are victims of a heinous crime to carry the child of their attacker! Seldom do views get more barbaric and cruel. Vote him out!

    November 2, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. Marty, FL

    Mourdock's reprehensible comments about rape do not belong in public office, neither does Romney's endorsement of Mourdock.

    November 2, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. Bill

    I think we should all take a moment and thank the extremists in the GOP who are responsible for taking a seat that had been held by the Republicans for 40 years and tuning it blue. Thanks!!

    November 2, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. The Situation

    Bye, Bye Mourdock! You can taken Akin, then you can take Mittens and Lyin Ryan with you too!

    November 2, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Me IN HOUSTON

    Claire McCaskill SHOULD be winning her race against Todd Aiken too

    November 2, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. enuff

    Yeah, that's it... it's everyone elses fault that they mistook what he meant. if one person doesn't get it, it's a misunderstanding. if a large group ooesn't get it, it's the messenger.

    November 2, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |