Donnelly, Braun neck and neck in race for U.S. Senate, new poll suggests

Sen. Joe Donnelly, left, has a paper-thin margin over Republican Mike Braun, according to new poll. (AP photo)

Indiana’s Democratic U.S. Senator has a razor-thin lead over his Republican challenger two weeks before the Nov. 6 election, according to a new poll

In the online poll of 1,400 adults conducted between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16, incumbent Joe Donnelly was favored by 41 percent compared to 40 percent for Mike Braun and 8 percent for Libertarian Lucy Brenton, with 11 percent undecided. The margin for error was 4.6 percent, and 65 percent of the respondents characterized their support for Donnelly and Braun as “strong.” Of the 1,400 people surveyed, 1,048 were registered to vote and 816 were considered likely to vote.

The poll was fielded, crafted and funded by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue Fort Wayne and conducted by the non-partisan Survey USA.

Donnelly leads among women by 11 points, 46 percent to 35 percent, while Braun leads among men by eight points, 45 percent to 37 percent. Donnelly also has a four-point lead among respondents younger than 50, 41 percent to 37 percent. Among whites, Braun enjoys an 11-point lead over Donnelly, 46 percent to 35 percent, with Donnelly leading among African Americans 85 percent to 2 percent and Hispanics 69 percent to 23 percent.

Braun leads among respondents with a high school education 43 percent to 34 percent but Donnelly leads among respondents with some college, 41 percent to 38 percent. Both are virtually tied among respondents earning $40,000 to $80,000 per year but Braun leads among those earning more than $80,000 (49 percent to 39 percent) while Donnelly leads among those earning less (45 percent to 33 percent).

Donnelly leads 53 percent to 28 percent among those who almost never attend religious services while Braun is favored by those who attend occasionally (44 percent to 36 percent) and those who attend regularly (53 percent to 30 percent). Donnelly leads among urban respondents 59 percent to 24 percent and Bran leads in rural areas 50 percent to 28 percent.

As for Brenton’s impact on the race, the poll suggests she is doing well in some areas that favor Donnelly and in others that favor Braun. “Given how close the race is, (she) could be a deciding factor,” the survey concludes.