After defeating a flawed candidate in 2012 and President Donald Trump winning Indiana in 2016 by nearly 20 points, Sen. Joe Donnelly is widely regarded as one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators in the country. But don’t count him out yet, according to a new Republican poll.
Former state Rep. Mike Braun, the GOP nominee, led Donnelly, 50-42 percent in the 3rd Congressional District, according to a survey of 401 likely voters conducted May 29-31 by WPAi for GOP Rep. Jim Banks.
While that might not sound like good news for the senator, it’s remarkably similar to his marks in 2012, when he lost the 3rd District to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock 53-40 percent (according to Daily Kos Elections) but won statewide 50-44 percent. In 2016, former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh lost the 3rd 59-34 percent and lost statewide handily. But, in 2008, President Barack Obama received 43 percent in the Fort Wayne-anchored seat and won narrowly statewide.
Donnelly doesn’t need to win the Northeast Indiana district; he just needs to hold down his losses.
His bid for a second term could get more complicated if the White House chooses to get involved. President Trump’s personal rating in the Northeast Indiana district was 58 percent favorable compared to 40 percent unfavorable and Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, stood even better at 61 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable.
It’s also possible the Braun still hasn’t consolidated the GOP base after a…