The GOP Is Looking More Poised To Capture A Senate Seat In Indiana

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Another survey has former GOP state Rep. Mike Braun ahead of Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, indicating the state to be a prime pickup opportunity for Senate Republicans.

A poll released Tuesday by Cygnal, an Alabama-based research firm, found Braun to be leading Donnelly by 3 percentage points, with the GOP challenger polling at 49 percent to the Democratic incumbent’s 46 percent. The results, which are within the margin of error, show a neck and neck race seven days before the midterm elections.

The survey — which was conducted between Oct. 26-27 and reached 505 likely voters — found 2 percent of voters to be still undecided.

The group behind the survey determined that supporters of President Donald Trump in Indiana are more likely to vote for Republican candidates, while opponents of the president are not as inclined to vote for Democratic candidates.

“There are those who want to send the President a message, but that is not translating into significant votes for Donnelly,” Josh Pendergrass, Cygnal’s director of client strategy, explained in a statement. “Voters are more likely to support candidates who support President Trump than they are to support candidates who oppose him. Republicans have a real chance of flipping the Indiana Senate seat when Trump supporters turn out.”

The Cygnal survey marks the latest in a string of polls that show Braun with a lead over Donnelly. A CBS-YouGov poll released Sunday has Braun ahead of the first-term senator by a similar 3-point margin, 46 percent to 43 percent. A Mason Strategies survey published earlier in October had Braun up by 4 percentage points.

The numbers indicate a turnaround in a race where Donnelly used to command a strong lead. During the summer, for example, the Democratic incumbent led in a Trafalgar Group poll by double digits. Inside Elections, Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball all currently rate the election in Indiana as a “toss up.”

President Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Elkhart, Indiana

ELKHART, IN – MAY 10: President Donald Trump turns the mic over to Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Mike Braun at a campaign rally on May 10, 2018 in Elkhart, Indiana. The crowd filled the 7,500-person-capacity gymnasium. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“We have all the momentum in the final nine days because Hoosiers are ready for solutions, not more of the same from politicians who’ll say anything to get elected,” Braun tweeted Sunday. The Indiana Republican has credited the “Kavanaugh effect” for much of his momentum, pointing out that Donnelly voted against the president’s Supreme Court nominee. (RELATED: Axios’ Jonathan Swan: ‘The Kavanaugh Effect’ On Midterm Election Enthusiasm ‘Does Appear To Be Real’)

“He did [vote against Brett Kavanaugh], and from that point you can measure it on our internals and some other polls we’ve built, I think a 4- to 5-point lead, and that was the catalyst,” Braun said during a “Fox & Friends” interview earlier in October.

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