An assessment by Morning Consult of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly’s political future shows the Indiana Democrat is vulnerable, but Republicans can’t quite close the deal.   It also provides some insight as to why the three Republicans running for his job have practically crazy glued themselves to President Donald Trump.

The report shows Donnelly with an approval/disapproval rating of 41-34.  Meanwhile, only 30 percent think he deserves re-election while 43 percent say it’s time for someone else to get the job.

“It is early, but this is evidence that we are in for an exciting race,” said Andy Downs of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.   “The generic ballot question is an interesting one, but it is not the best indicator of how someone is doing.  It is not uncommon for respondents to be willing to consider an unnamed other person, especially if that unnamed person is from their party or the party toward which they lean.  Who the opponent really is matters quite a bit.  I think it is safe to say that head-to-head numbers might vary quite a bit in this race (e.g. Donnelly v. Braun; Donnelly v. Rokita).”

Republicans used the poll to underline what they say is Donnelly’s vulnerability.  “In case it wasn’t obvious already, Senator Donnelly’s poll numbers continue to head in the wrong direction for all the right reasons. From resisting and obstructing President Trump’s tax cuts to not representing Hoosier values in Washington, all of this spells doom for Donnelly come November,” said RNC Spokesperson Michael Joyce.

Despite the poll results, Democrats say Hoosiers will like Donnelly’s message and record.  “Joe’s on a five-day pre-primary RV tour because he knows there’s no substitute for the concerns and opinions straight from Hoosiers themselves. He’s hearing that Hoosiers want someone who works hard, puts politics aside and delivers results for Indiana’s economy, ”  said  Donnelly spokesman Will Baskin-Gerwitz. That’s why he’s voted against every bad trade deal, fought to pass his End Outsourcing Act, and gotten legislation addressing the skills gap signed into law to make sure the good-paying jobs of the future are found in Indiana. And as someone who’s had 18 of his legislative proposals signed into law during the Trump Administration alone, it’s been no surprise that Joe has seen supporters fired up to send him back to the Senate at every single stop.”

The report shows Trump with a 69 percent approval rating among Republicans, which experts say might be why Luke Messer, Mike Braun and Todd Rokita have shied away from distancing themselves from Trump in the primary.  However, the President’s net approval rating is -14 when it comes to independents which will be crucial for either side to win come November.

“The numbers that should concern Donnelly more are the one about deserving to be reelected.  He is upside down and it is close to a majority who say it’s time for a new person,” Downs noted.