Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is Mourdock Tied with Donnelly?

That's what a new poll put out on Monday by Joe Donnelly's Senate campaign would like to have you believe.

The poll, taken at the height of the post-primary media gnashing of teeth and scornful lamentations over Lugar's defeat, shows Donnelly tied with Mourdock, 40% to 40%.

The poll reminds me a little bit of early polling in the spring of 2010 that showed Brad Ellsworth tied with Dan Coats. We all know how that race ended.

After Dick Lugar spent millions of dollars trying to convince everyone in Indiana that Richard Mourdock was somehow a tax-cheating crook that bayoneted babies, murdered puppies, and refused to help little old ladies cross the street, after the media spent a week crying over the defeat of the great statesman by this Tea Party conservative, the best Donnelly can get in polling is a tie.

And it's not even a realistic poll. Here's why:

Including independents who leaned toward either side, the poll included 43 percent Republican leaners and 39 percent Democratic leaners — a four-point GOP advantage.

According to CNN exit polls, Republicans had a five-point turnout edge in the 2008 presidential race in Indiana (41 percent to 36 percent) and an 11-point advantage in 2010 (42 percent to 31 percent).

So if you assume that the electorate in Indiana is going to be even more Democratic than it was in 2008--when Indiana voted for a Democrat for president for the first time in over four decades--then Joe Donnelly might be tied with Richard Mourdock right now in the Senate race.

But if you view things more realistically, namely that Indiana isn't likely to be remotely in Obama's column this time, then the poll falls apart.

The Democrats are desperate to make this race competitive, even if they have to make believe, twist numbers, close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears, and scream "we can't hear you." They need Joe Donnelly in that Senate seat, or any hope they have of keeping Harry Reid in charge of the Senate and passing Obama's liberal agenda is dead on arrival.

Their desperation is not without justification, either. In one week, Mourdock's money bomb has raised half as much money as Donnelly has in the bank after a year and a half of fundraising.

And if you need any other reasons why the Democrats are desperate (or why to support Mourdock, for that matter), well, pictures are worth a thousand words.