Indiana Statewide Survey of Registered Voters

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We Ask America, a nationally recognized polling firm, today, released the third in a series of statewide public opinion polls from across the country.  The third state surveyed is Indiana and took the pulse on voter’s opinions about direction of the country and state, the job performance of its leaders, and their opinion on the legal age to purchase tobacco.

We Ask America previously released polls for two other midwestern states: a statewide survey of Likely 2020 Republican Primary voters in Nebraska to assess the landscape ahead of a potential primary for Senator Ben Sasse and to gauge voter’s attitudes regarding the debate over property taxes in Lincoln; and a statewide survey of Registered Voters in Illinois to assess the direction of the state, the job performance of its leaders, and their opinion on Governor JB Pritzker’s recent budget address.

Despite being the home-state candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a long way to go if he hopes to win Indiana in the Democratic primary next year as former Vice President Joe Biden has a 10-point lead over second place U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and a 13-point lead over third place Buttigieg. Despite very loud noise from the far left of the Democratic Party and Buttigieg's popularity in the South Bend region, it seems that, for now, rank-and-file Indiana Democrats prefer a traditional party leader.Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence sits comfortably with a net +6% favorability, while President Trump is slightly underwater in his job approval at net -2%.

Ahead of a run for re-election next year, Governor Eric Holcomb controls his own destiny and any challenger will face a long, uphill battle to tarnish Holcomb's image to the point where voters would consider turning on the incumbent governor.

Lastly, on the heels of U.S. Senator Todd Young joining a bipartisan group of colleagues at the federal level seeking to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 years of age, Hoosiers overwhelmingly support the idea, at least at home.  In a time when the nation is a divided political landscape, the state legislature has a clear mandate from voters to enact change in combatting a major health crisis affecting its youth.

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Key Findings

  • Indiana voters feel significantly better about the direction of the state than they do the direction of the country.  Overall, just 39% of registered voters believe the country is headed in the right direction, while 51% say that it’s gotten off on the wrong track.  Half (50%) believe that Indiana is headed in the right direction however, while just a third (34%) believe that it’s on the wrong track.

    Independents are largely the driving force behind the difference in optimism about the direction of the state versus the direction of country.  43% believe the Indiana is headed in the right direction, while just 28% say it’s on the wrong track.  This contrasts with just 35% who say the country is headed in the right direction, while closer to half (45%) say the country has gotten off on the wrong track.

    As is to be expected, Republicans are far more optimistic about the direction of the country with 65% saying it’s headed in the right direction, while Democrats are far more pessimistic with 83% saying it’s on the wrong track.  Asked about the direction of the state, Republicans are equally as optimistic with 73% believing it’s headed in the right direction, while Democrats are generally less hostile about the direction of their own state with 24% saying it’s headed in the right direction and 26% less (57% overall) saying it’s on the wrong track.

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  • President Donald Trump’s job approval sits just barely under water.  Overall, 46% of Indiana voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 48% disapprove (-2% net job approval).  Split along party lines, his approval is at 82% with Republicans, while 89 % of Democrats disapprove of his job performance.  Among Independents, just 35% approve of his job performance, while 45% disapprove. 

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  • Mirroring the president’s job approval, 47% of Indiana residents have a favorable opinion of Vice President Mike Pence.  However, 41% have an unfavorable opinion, giving the vice president a net +6 favorability in his home state.  Among his base of Republicans, Pence’s image sits at net +66 (79% Fav/13% Unfav).  Among Democrats, he has a net favorability of -63 (12% Fav/75% Unfav), while just 35% of Independents have a favorable opinion versus 39% with an unfavorable (net -4).

  • Hoosiers give Governor Holcomb strong marks on his job performance.  Overall, 54% of Indiana voters approve of Holcomb’s job performance, while less than one-quarter (24%) disapprove (+30 net job approval).  Holcomb is overwhelmingly popular with his base, as 76% of Republicans approve and just 11% disapprove (+65 net job approval).  Among Independents, 42% approve, while just 19% disapprove (+23 net job approval).  Only 42% of Democrats disapprove of Holcomb’s job performance, while nearly a third, 34%, approve (-8 net job approval).  Among Moderates, Holcomb has a net +21 job approval (46% Approve/25% Disapprove).

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  • Governor Holcomb is on the cusp of running away with his own re-election.  Despite strong approval ratings, just 26% of Indiana voters believe Governor Holcomb has done enough to deserve re-election.  28% of voters believe he probably has done enough, while 20% do not believe so and 26% are unsure.  However, if the governor can leverage his 78% job approval (just 10% job disapproval) among those who believe he “probably” deserves re-election in to solidified support, his re-election looks all but guaranteed.

  • The attention from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign has translated in to a favorable image overall with Indiana voters.  35% of overall Hoosiers have a favorable opinion (15% Very Favorable) of Buttigieg, while one-quarter (25%) view him unfavorably.  40% still have no opinion of him.  Among Democrats, his image sits at a net +51 (60% Fav/9% Unfav).  Among Independents, 29% have a favorable view of Buttigieg, while 21% have an unfavorable (+9 net favorability).  With Republicans, Buttigieg’s image sits at net -21 (17% Fav/39% Unfav).  Unsurprisingly, Buttigieg is most popular in his home region, drawing a favorable opinion from 57% of voters in the South Bend-Elkhart media market (+30 net favorability).

  • Despite Buttigieg’s popularity in his home state, if the Democratic primary election for President were held today, former Vice President Joe Biden would cruise to a comfortable victory in Indiana.  Among self-identifying Democrats who indicated that they would vote in next year’s Democratic primary for president, 33% say they would vote for Biden, with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders getting 23%, Buttigieg getting 20%, and 15% Undecided.  Buttigieg performs best in the South Bend-Elkhart media market, getting 43% of the vote.

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  • While embattled Attorney General Curtis Hill’s image is under water, Hoosiers largely have no opinion on him.  Despite public calls for his resignation, 61% of Indiana voters have no opinion of Hill.  Overall, 13% of voters have a favorable opinion of Hill (just 3% Very Favorable), while 26% have an unfavorable opinion (-13 net favorability) of him.  Heading in to a re-election, this offers Hill a relative blank canvass to build up his image with voters.  However, that same blank canvass also offers the same opportunity for potential opponents to craft their own narrative surrounding Hill.

  • There is overwhelming support among Hoosiers to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.  On the heels of U.S. Senator Todd Young joining a bi-partisan group of colleagues at the federal level to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21, over three quarters (75%) of Indiana voters support the Indiana legislature raising the legal age on their own, with 52% strongly supporting the move.

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Methodology

This poll was conducted between April 29 and May 5, 2019 using online surveys.  In all, 800 interviews were achieved and weighted by age, gender, race, and geography to reflect a representation of registered voters in Indiana.  The Margin of Error for this survey is +/- 3.46% at a Confidence Interval of 95%.

Evan Walker