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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Politics

Steve Brown

Chicago, IL

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IN Senate Race: Coats Claims Poll Position

April 29, 2010 - 11:14 AM | by: Steve Brown

Dan Coats appears to have broken through in Indiana’s GOP primary for that state’s US Senate race. A poll out this morning from the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics has Coats in front outside the margin of error. Here’s the breakdown:

Dan Coats               36%

John Hostettler    24%

Marlin Stutzman  18%

Undecided              13%

Don Bates, Jr.         6%

Richard Behney     4%

The poll was conducted by SurveyUSA via recorded message delivered by random telephone calls (refered to as a ‘robo-poll’). There were 407 Hoosiers questioned who said they were likely to vote in the Republican primary. Calls were conducted from April 22nd-27th. The margin of error in the poll is plus/minus 5%.

The primary is Tuesday, May 4th.

UPDATE: The most surprising single piece of data in the poll was Coats strong standing among likely voters who “identify with the Tea Party movement”. In that group…Coats got 30%…Stutzman 23%…Hostettler 21%…Undecided 11%…Bates 9% and Behney 4%.

Why is that surprising? Coats did not win a single straw poll at any of the debates sponsored by Tea Party groups. Organizers have repeatedly told me that of the five Republican candidates…the Tea Party favorites are Stutzman, Behney and Bates.

In fact, Behney is a Tea Party organizer himself. Stutzman has courted the Tea Party vote and has won four Tea Party debate straw polls. The one candidate who has seemed to struggle for support among Tea Party activists is Coats.

Yet, this polls suggests Coats may have mended fences with Tea Partiers on issues such as Coats’ voting for a semi-automatic weapons ban while a Senator in the 1990’s…and Coats work as a DC lobbyist.

Tea Partiers may have grown pragmatic here in the waning days of the primary campaign…getting behind Coats because of his base of support among the regulars of the Indiana Republican Party. But if that’s true…it’s the first time this reporter has heard it.

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