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Donnelly up 11 points in Senate-race poll

The results of an independent poll released Friday indicate Democrat Joe Donnelly has built a lead over Republican Richard Mourdock ahead of Tuesday's election for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat.

Donnelly leads Mourdock by 11 percentage points, 47 percent to 36 percent, according to the survey commissioned by Howey Politics Indiana and DePauw University.

Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning is favored by 6 percent of respondents, and 11 percent are undecided, according to poll results.

The telephone poll of 800 likely voters was conducted Sunday through Tuesday by Republican pollster Christine Matthews of Bellwether Research and Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Garin-Hart-Yang Research. Howey Politics Indiana said 27 percent of the calls were made to cell phones and the rest to landline phones.

The margin of error was plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points, meaning that in theory, 19 of 20 similar surveys conducted at the same time would have found results within 3.5 percentage points of the correct answers.

Rep. Donnelly, D-2nd, held a 2-point lead -- considered about even because of the margin of error -- in a Howey/DePauw poll conducted in September.

The latest poll asked respondents whether Mourdock's comments about abortion, made at an Oct. 23 debate -- he said that pregnancy resulting from rape "is something that God intended to happen" -- made it more or less likely they would vote for him. Forty percent said it was less likely, 6 percent said it was more likely and 54 percent said the comments made no difference in their voting intentions.

Donnelly's lead is thanks in large part to female and independent voters, the poll found. Women's support for Donnelly grew from 41 percent in September to 50 percent, and the percentage of independents who favor Donnelly jumped from 32 percent in September to 51 percent.

State Treasurer Mourdock defeated six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in the May Republican primary election. A few days ahead of the election, which Mourdock won by 21 percentage points, a Howey-DePauw poll showed Mourdock ahead by 10 percentage points.

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