Polls suggest Braun might be pulling ahead of Donnelly in Indiana

Sen. Joe Donnelly has been running slightly ahead of his Republican challenger, businessman Mike Braun, throughout the campaign season. But now two polls show Braun with a 4 point lead over Donnelly.

One of the polls is an internal survey released by the Braun campaign. It shows their guy ahead 44-40.
I tend to discount this type of poll.

However, the second poll is an Indy Politics survey conducted by Mason Strategies. It also shows Braun ahead by 4 points, 47-43 percent.

In the Indy Politics poll, Lucy Brenton, an independent candidate, garners only 3 percent support, as opposed to 7 percent in the Braun campaign’s internal poll. The lower number seems more in line with what an independent candidate normally gets in this sort of race.

The polling news isn’t entirely good for Braun. A new poll by SurveyUSA gives Donnelly a 1 point lead, 41-40 with Brenton at 8 percent. But even this result — a tie, in essence — represents a mild improvement in Braun’s standing.

Donnelly should be in trouble. As Alexandra DeSanctis points out at NRO, Donald Trump carried Indiana by 19 points two years ago. Trump also crushed it in the Indiana primary, a race that effectively ended the battle for the GOP nomination. In addition, Todd Young defeated popular former Senator and Governor Evan Bayh by 10 points.

Donnelly didn’t help himself by voting against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Nor is Donnelly a political power house. He might well have lost in 2012, as was expected, but for the statement of his Republican opponent, Richard Mourdock, that pregnancies caused by rape are an act of God.

Braun seems to have avoided this type of unforced error, so far.

If Braun wins, the GOP can realistically think in terms of extending its razor thin Senate majority by two or three seats. In that event, moderate Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins will lose much of their power, and the GOP will have a better chance of retaining control of the Senate in 2020.

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