A key race in which party will hold the majority in the U.S. Senate has tightened up in recent weeks. The race for the open Senate seat in Indiana between Former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh and Republican Rep. Todd Young is now a dead heat according to a new Monmouth University poll.
This is the first time that an independent poll has shown that Bayh is not in the lead in the race. According to the poll, Bayh and Young each had the support of 45 percent of likely voters. The race has garnered the attention of significant outside money from both sides of the aisle. The share of voters who view Bayh unfavorably has steadily risen in recent months, a sign that the negative advertising and press that has been focused on him are having an effect. Bayh has faced a steady stream of media criticism and ads focused on Bayh’s private sector career and Indiana residency following his retirement from the Senate.
Bayh was a late entry into the race, jumping into it this past July. At the time, polls showed him with a double digit lead. That lead has waned steadily over the past few months. Monmouth polls conducted in August showed him with a 7 point lead, and then, in September, showed him having a 6 percentage point lead over Young.
Despite Bayh’s initial seeming lock on the race, Republicans did not write it off and instead decided to fully invest in the race. Bayh’s unfavorable rating was just 19 percent in August, shortly after he announced that he is running. In the latest poll, it has risen to 32 percent. Meanwhile, his favorable have dropped from 46 to 38 percent.
Young’s unfavorable have also risen, just not as much as Bayh’s. They were 15 percent in August, and in the latest poll, are 24 percent. That has not affected his favorability, however, which has stayed at around 30 percent.
This comes at a time when Donald Trump’s popularity has steadily increased in the state after dropping in the wake of the ‘Access Hollywood’ recordings which were leaked in early October. In the most recent poll, Trump was leading the state with 50 percent support with Hillary Clinton at 39.
At the same time, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg is leading his opponent, Lt. Gov. Eric Holocomb by a 48 percent to 42 percent margin.