Indiana still has the look of a likely Republican Senate pickup, with former Sen. Dan Coats remaining comfortably ahead of Democratic opponent Brad Ellsworth.
Coats snagged 51 percent support in the July 7-8 Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of 500 likely voters in the state, compared with Ellsworth’s limping in with his poorest showing to date, at 30 percent. Six percent favor some other candidate in the race, while 12 percent remain undecided.
Coats’ figure is a rebound from last month’s 47 percent, when he led Ellsworth by 14 percent.
In five previous surveys back to February, support for Coats has ranged from 46 percent to 54 percent, compared with 32 percent to 36 percent for Ellsworth.
The two candidates are contending for the seat Sen. Evan Bayh is vacating, after his surprise announcement in January that he would not seek
re-election. Bayh, who faced a tough GOP challenge, was still the favorite in the race at the time, but now the seat is rated as solid for the GOP in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power
Just 9 percent of Indiana voters rate the economy as good or excellent, while 49 percent say it’s poor. About one-fourth say it’s getting better, but 48 percent think it’s getting worse.
Coats, who was a senator from Indiana from 1989 to 1999, holds double-digit leads among both male and female voters. He holds a better than 3-to-1 lead among voters not affiliated with either major party.
Opposition to the national healthcare bill remains high in Indiana, traditionally a conservative, Republican-leaning state. Almost 60 percent favor repeal of the bill that Ellsworth supported as a member of the House, while 35 percent oppose repeal. This is a higher level of support than there is nationally. This includes 49 percent who strongly favor repeal and 21 percent who strongly oppose it.
Almost 75 percent of those who strongly favor repeal support Coats, while Ellsworth earns 78 percent of the vote from those who strongly oppose it.
Support in Indiana for Arizona’s new immigration law parallel national findings. Sixty-one percent of Indiana voters favor passage of a law like Arizona’s in their state, and just 25 percent oppose such a bill.
Coats gets 64 percent support from those who favor an Arizona-like law in Indiana. Almost 60 percent of those who oppose a law like that favor Ellsworth.
Almost 30 percent of all voters in the state agree with the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the Arizona law in court, but 57 percent disagree.
However, 63 percent of Indiana voters favor a welcoming immigration policy that excludes only national security threats, criminals, and those who come here to live off the U.S. welfare system. Almost one-fourth disagree with a policy like that.
On the positive/negative meter, 13 percent view Coats very favorably and 8 percent, very unfavorably. Nearly 20 percent have no opinion of the former senator.
Ten percent have a very favorable opinion of Ellsworth, while 9 percent view him very unfavorably and 28 percent don’t know enough about him to voice any kind of opinion.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
Just over 60 percent of Indiana voters think the country is in a recession.
Almost 30 percent believe the $787 billion economic stimulus plan helped the U.S. economy, but 38 percent say it hurt. This is close to voter sentiments nationally.
About one-fourth say the government spending in the stimulus plan created new jobs, while 56 percent say it didn’t. Two-thirds believe cutting taxes is a better way to create new jobs than increased government spending, while just 14 percent opt for increased spending.
About 43 percent of Indiana voters approve of President Obama’s job performance, while 56 percent disapprove. That’s in line with findings last month and a higher level of criticism than Obama earns nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
Two-thirds approve of how GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels is performing, up 8points from the previous survey, while 31 percent disapprove.
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