Five men are seeking to be the Republican nominee in the Indiana Senate race to replace Evan Bayh. Three have a likely chance to win. From where is each getting his support?
SurveyUSA polled the race for the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, and I have the news release. The top line has been spread out far and wide: Don Bates and Richard Behney are negligible at 6 and 4 precent, so we turn our attention to the top three candidates. Dan Coats leads at 36, followed by John Hostettler at 24, and Marlin Stutzman at 18. But let's dig beyond that.
All three lead Democrat Brad Ellsworth in the general election according to the poll, but their profiles in the primary are different. Coats and Hostettler do better among voters lacking a favorable view of the Tea Party Movement, 47-34 and 27-21 respectively, while Stutzman does better among the Tea Party supporters by a 20-8 margin. Those who do not consider themselves Tea Party members also favor Coats and Hostettler more, 36-30 and 27-21 again. Stutzman does better among the Tea Party members as well, drawing 23% of the Tea Party members, and only 18% of the non-members. Stutzman is apparently the Tea Party candidate.
On the other hand, Hostettler is the candidate of Independents. He leads among all Independents with 35%, but drops to 19% among Strong Republicans. He also beats Coats and Stutzman among 2008 Obama voters polled. Stutzman does best among Independents leaning Republican, which sounds to me like a Tea Party-friendly category.
Lastly Coats sounds like the mainstream, establishment Republican pick, as he leads overall and among Strong Republicans.
A three way primary with Republicans and Independents both voting allows for a complicated web of relationships, to be sure.