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New poll shows Daniels leading Senate field, if he runs

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new poll released suggests Mitch Daniels would be leading the 2024 U.S. Senate field in Indiana, if he were a candidate, but that most people still aren’t sure who they’ll vote for a year and a half before the votes are cast.

The poll was released Sunday by Bellwether Research, which worked with Daniels during his campaigns for governor.

“As possible candidates ‘make their decision with family and friends over the holidays,’ we wanted to assess where a potential field would start,” poll author Christine Matthews wrote. “It’s early and we don’t know for sure who all the candidates will be, so we opted to be inclusive. In fact, we asked the GOP primary ballot for U.S. Senate twice – once with a field of candidates that did not include former Purdue president/Governor Mitch Daniels and once with a field that did. It made a big difference.”

The poll posted Sunday suggests Daniels, who served two terms as governor and is set to retire as Purdue University president this month, would get 32% of GOP support in the Senate primary.  

He’s followed by current members of the Indiana delegation to the U.S. House: Jim Banks (10%), Trey Hollingsworth (9%) and Victoria Spartz (7%).

Both Banks and Spartz have publicly confirmed they are considering Senate bids and expect to decide after Jan. 1.

Hollingsworth did not seek reelection and has not publicly commented on his future plans.

(Provided Graphic/Bellwether Research)

Without Daniels in the race, current Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (16%) would lead the field, although Rokita has not announced an intention to run for Senate.

Of those polled, 39% answered they were unsure of who they would support.

(Provided Graphic/Bellwether Research)

Current U.S. Senator Mike Braun has announced he will not seek another term in the Senate and is instead campaigning for governor.

No Democrats have announced campaigns for the Senate seat.

In the governor’s race, the same Bellwether poll shows Braun (25%) leading the potential field to succeed Gov. Eric Holcomb.

He’s followed by Rokita (9%), and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (7%), who formally announced her campaign for governor one week ago.

40% of those asked say they are unsure who they would vote for in the May 2024 primary.

(Provided Graphic/Bellwether Research)

Among Democrats considering a race for governor are Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, who lost his Senate race this year to Todd Young, and Jennifer McCormick, the former Superintendent of Public Instruction who changed parties after a series of disagreements with GOP lawmakers. 

The poll also found a drop in Indiana Republican support for former President Donald Trump, but that he still leads the GOP presidential field in the state.

35% of those questioned said they had a less favorable opinion of Trump over the past month or so, with 16% saying their opinion of him had improved.

(Provided Graphic/Bellwether Research)

In a 2024 presidential primary in Indiana, 39% said they would vote for Trump, with 28% for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and 13% for former Vice President Mike Pence.

Among those with a college education, those polled preferred DeSantis (38%) to Trump (24%).

(Provided Graphic/Bellwether Research)