voters get to know him and that his pollnumbers will get better as he becomes betterknown. The other scenario is that Mourdock’slack of identity is useful in serving as the “anti-Lugar” in that he can generically representchange or people can project onto him idealqualities. The April 11 debate is an opportunityfor Mourdock to show himself as more than the “anti-Lugar” candidate and voters can judgehim in a side-by-side comparison with theincumbent.Another factor to consider is how active a rolepopular Gov. Mitch Daniels will yet play in theprimary. He has endorsed Senator Lugar, butthere has been no TV ad. Usually endorsementsare not that interesting; however, the governoris a rock star among Republicans.General Election Survey With a 63% job approval rating among allvoters, Mitch Daniels is among the mostpopular governors in the country (along withNew Mexico’s Susana Martinez and New YorkGovernor Andrew Cuomo). The majority (53%)of all voters think the state is heading in theright direction, compared with 26% who thinkthe country is. Just 39% approve of the jobBarack Obama is doing as President, which isworse than in private polling we conducted lastsummer. Independents give Obama a 41%approval rating, compared with 62% forGovernor Daniels. If Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee, hewould lead the president by nine points(49%-40%) among Hoosier voters, whereas it’sa closer race with Santorum (46%-41%).Independent men lean toward Romney46%-42%, but independent women backObama 51%-34%. In the gubernatorial race, Democratic candidateJohn Gregg and his moustache have yet tomake an imprint on voters: 71% have neverheard of him, which is little changed fromwhere he was a year ago. Mike Pence is betterknown and leads Gregg by a 44%-31%margin. This early, our poll simply lays themarker for this race as the candidates begin tocampaign in earnest following the Mayprimary. However, Pence starts out with a solidadvantage.In the U.S. Senate general election contest,former Democratic congressman Joe Donnellyalso begins as a relative unknown: 53% havenever heard of him and another 24% have noopinion. He trails Richard Lugar by a 29%-50%margin (perennial Libertarian candidate AndyHorning nets 7%). Lugar wins independentvoters by a 20-point margin and soundly beatsDonnelly in Indianapolis, an area Democratsmust carry. Donnelly only performs well in thenorthwest quadrant of the state which includesLake, St. Joseph and Porter counties. Against Richard Mourdock, however, Donnellyties with 35% of the vote (7% for Horning).Donnelly has a 20-point advantage inIndianapolis and increases his margin innorthern Indiana substantially. IndianaDemocratic insiders know these numbers, of course, and that is why they will do everythingin their power to help ensure Richard Mourdockcomes out of the GOP primary. The generalelectability argument, however, will not helpRichard Lugar in the primary. It’s been workingfor Romney, but in general, Republican primaryvoters aren’t responsive to this message.
Presidential GOP Primary
At the time we were in the field (March 26-28)
In the Republican presidential primary,
with the nomination virtually a foregone conclusionfor Romney, Rick Santorum leads Romney 27-26% among the Republicans surveyed. Ron Pauland Newt Gingrich stood at 6% each and 35% were undecided.
In the first head-to-head numbers
in the Indiana gubernatorial race, U.S. Rep. Mike Pencehad a 44-31% lead over former Democratic House speaker John Gregg, with 5% backingLibertarian Rupert Boneham. Gregg's problem is that 71% of the general election voters have notheard of him. Of those who have, his fav/infavs stood at 10/4%. Pence's fav/unfavs in this surveystood at 32/20% with 30% having never heard of him. Among the Republican primary voters,Pence's fav/unfavs stood at 57/5%. In 1996, Lt. Gov. O'Bannon trailed Republican StephenGoldsmith by a larger margin than Gregg trails Pence. Pence's challenge will be that anemic 10%approval rating for Congress.
- Brian A. Howey
Daniels' sine die: Assessing governor's8 legislative sessions
This article was originally published in the March22, 2012 edition of Howey Politics Indiana.By BRIAN A. HOWEY
INDIANAPOLIS - The final bills of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ career are being signed this week. From a policystandpoint, Daniels promised a “freight train of change” and delivered much. He demanded and received fourbalanced budgets without smoke and mirrors, passedMajor Moves, telecommunications reform, fundedfull-day kindergarten and avoided educatioal fundingcuts like most other states, set up the Healthy IndianaProgram and the Indiana Economic DevelopmentCorporation, and then sprawling education and laborreforms.As with any governor, the historical verdict on theexact impact of his tenure will be years away. HoweyPolitics Indiana was able to establish a review of Gov.Evan Bayh’s tenure a decade after he left office in 1996as he was gearing up for a presidential run. Next yearwill mark a decade since the death of Gov. FrankO’Bannon, and such a review will be published in 2013,when the community college program he pioneered, forinstance, can be aptly placed into context.It will be well into the third decade of the centurybefore the true thrust of the Daniels era can beweighed. Daniels will leave office with nationalprominence despite passing on a presidential run. He ischampioned by his Republican Party as a prolific jobscreator, though the state’s jobless rate has been miredbetween 8.5 and 10% for almost all of his second termand isn’t expected to dip below 6% until 2014. Thestate is facing troubling trends in births to singlemothers, obesity and educational attainment.A classic example of the preamble rhetoric surroundinglegislation and the actual law would be Major Moves.Passed in the 2006 session with a one-vote margin inthe House, Daniels presented it as the “jobs bill of ageneration.” House Speaker Brian Bosma said justhours after passage, “We will put 130,000 Hoosierfamilies to work over the next decade. That is a recordinvestment in infrastructure.” Under Major Moves, the state received $3.8 billion for a75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road, which allowed itto accelerate an array of projects that were unfunded,including the U.S. 31 freeway, the I-69 extension fromIndianapolis to Evansville, the completion of theHoosier Heartland Highway, and Ohio River bridges.But heading into the sixth year of the decade, theconstruction jobs have yet to be realized. In 2010,Howey Politics Indiana reported that while U.S.Department of Transportation formulas expected47,000 jobs created per $1 billion spent – or 117,500project jobs – estimates revealed just 28,500 jobs thatyear, or less than one-fifth supporters had hoped. “That was never the central point,” Daniels told HPIintern Bryan Ault from Franklin College. “It was neverabout construction jobs. It’s about having a first classinfrastructure over which the private sector over thelong haul will invest and create the big number of
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