A new poll by Monmouth University shows major shifts in the race for President, Governor and the U.S. Senate here in the Hoosier state.
According to Monmouth, Republican Todd Young has erased former senator Evan Bayh’s early advantage to pull into a tie for Senate. Young’s campaign gets an assist from the top of the ticket where Donald Trump now holds an 11 point lead over Hillary Clinton for president. Indiana Democrats can take some comfort from the governor’s race, though, where John Gregg is ahead of Eric Holcomb by 6 points, however Gregg was up by 12 points in the last Monmouth poll.
Among Indiana voters who are likely to cast ballots in November’s presidential election or who have already voted early, 50% currently support Trump and 39% back Clinton while another 4% intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson. The current margin is larger than the 4 point lead Trump held two weeks ago (45% to 41%) and matches the 11 point lead he held in August (47% to 36%).
Trump is ahead among voters without a four-year college degree (54% to 34%) as well as college graduates (46% to 43%). His non-college edge is similar to prior polls – 53% to 33% in mid-October and 54% to 33% in August. However, he has turned around a prior deficit among college graduates from 36% to 50% for Clinton in mid-October and 39% to 40% for Clinton in August.
Trump continues to hold a wide lead among men – 54% to 35%, compared with a similar 52% to 34% earlier this month and 51% to 29% in August. He narrowly leads among women as well, by 47% to 42%, where he had trailed in mid-October (38% Trump to 47% Clinton) and was practically tied in August (44% Trump to 43% Clinton).
The poll was conducted from Thursday through Sunday, but voters interviewed after news broke on Friday about the FBI investigating new emails during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State were asked about the impact of that news. A total of 4% of Indiana voters say this news caused them to change their mind about which candidate they would support. Another 85% said these latest developments ultimately has had no impact on their vote and 9% are unaware of the news.
“Earlier this month it looked like Clinton could potentially make a play for Indiana, but that opportunity has faded. While the email news does not play a decisive role in the presidential contest, a couple of points on the margins could be having a critical impact on tight down-ballot races,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Turning to the contest to succeed retiring Republican U.S. Senator Dan Coats, former senator Evan Bayh and Congressman Todd Young are tied at 45% for Bayh and 45% for Young. Libertarian Lucy Brenton garners 4% of the vote. Bayh had held a steady 6 to 7 point lead in prior Monmouth polls – 48% to 42% in mid-October and 48% to 41% in August.
“Attacks on Bayh’s out of state activities have certainly led to this shift, but renewed strength at the top of the ticket is providing a crucial assist for Young,” said Murray.
Clinton voters are more likely to stick with the Democrat in the U.S. Senate race than Trump voters are to back the Republican. Fully 90% of Clinton voters say they will support Bayh – basically unchanged from 87% in mid-October – while only 79% of Trump voters will back Young – similar to 74% earlier this month.
The poll finds that negative ratings of both candidates have crept up in the past two weeks, with Bayh feeling the bigger net negative effect. Currently, 38% of Indiana voters have a favorable opinion of Bayh and 32% hold an unfavorable view. He had a somewhat better 40% favorable to 26% unfavorable rating in mid-October and an even better 46% favorable to 19% unfavorable rating in August.
Young gets a 30% favorable to 24% unfavorable rating from the state’s voters. This compares with a 27% favorable to 19% unfavorable rating in mid-October and a 29% favorable to 15% unfavorable rating in August.
The Monmouth University Poll also finds a shift in the race to succeed Pence as governor, but the Democrat still holds the lead. Former state legislator and 2012 gubernatorial nominee John Gregg is ahead of Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb by a 48% to 42% margin. Another 4% support Libertarian Rex Bell. Gregg held a larger 50% to 38% lead in mid-October while the race was virtually tied in August at 42% for Holcomb and 41% for Gregg.
In other poll results on the presidential race, 35% of Indiana voters have a favorable view of Trump and 51% hold an unfavorable opinion of him. While these numbers are nothing to brag about, they are nominally better than his prior Hoosier State rating of 31% favorable to 58% unfavorable in mid-October and 33% favorable to 54% unfavorable in August.
Clinton receives an even worse 27% favorable to 63% unfavorable rating, compared with her 30% favorable to 59% unfavorable rating in mid-October and her 28% favorable to 62% unfavorable rating in August.
Indiana’s current governor, GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, has seen a slight uptick in his state job approval rating since earlier this month. He currently earns a 52% approve to 43% disapprove rating for his performance as governor, compared with 47% approve to 44% disapprove two weeks ago. He had somewhat better ratings in August, after he accepted his party’s nomination to the national ticket, of 54% approve to 35% disapprove.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from October 27 to 30, 2016 with 402 Indiana residents likely to vote in the November election. This sample has a margin of error of + 4.9 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.