By James Polston
INDIANAPOLIS—Democratic Senate incumbent Joe Donnelly appears to have a slight advantage over Republican Mike Braun in Indiana’s hotly contested Senate race, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll.
The poll shows in a head-to-head race, Donnelly has a six percent advantage over Braun. Donnelly comes in at 49 percent of support from likely voters and Braun with 43 percent. Among all registered voters, there is not much difference. Donnelly has 48 percent and Braun has 42 percent.
Adding Libertarian Lucy Brenton to the mix narrowed the gap between Donnelly and Braun to three percent — Donnelly with 44 percent, Braun with 41 percent and Brenton with eight percent among likely voters.
NBC News/Marist said the margin of error for likely voters in the poll is plus or minus five percent.
The campaign staffs of Donnelly, Braun and Brenton declined to speak directly with a reporter from TheStatehouseFile.com about the poll.
Instead, both Donnelly and Braun’s spokesmen released statements that did little more than rehash their campaign themes. Brenton did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.
“We don’t need a poll to tell us that Joe’s message of hard work, bipartisanship and Hoosier common sense is resonating with voters,” said Peter Hanscom, Donnelly’s campaign manager, in a news release. “For the next 60-plus days, we’re continuing to keep our heads down, work hard, and talk to every voter to listen to their concerns and discuss how Joe will fight for Hoosiers in Washington next year.”
“Mike Braun is surging in the polls because Hoosiers are sick of talk from career politicians like Joe Donnelly and are ready for the solutions a job creator like Mike Braun will bring to Washington,” said Josh Kelley, spokesman for Braun’s campaign, in a news release. “Joe Donnelly will tell Hoosiers anything, Mike Braun will get things done: that’s why Hoosier momentum is clearly building behind Braun.”
Although the Senate race is heating up, Donnelly issued a statement saying the campaign plans to halt all activities on Sept. 11 out of respect for the 17thanniversary of 9/11 attacks in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“Instead of campaigning, Senator Joe Donnelly and campaign staff will participate in a service project that afternoon assembling trauma kits at the Central Indiana Police Foundation,” Hanscom wrote in a letter to Braun’s campaign manager, Ben Mitchell, inviting Braun’s campaign to do the same and join the Donnelly campaign at the Central Indiana Police Foundation.
James Polston is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.