INDIANAPOLIS | Democrat John Gregg has closed a huge deficit and is now just six points behind Republican Mike Pence in the race for Indiana governor, according to a Gregg campaign-sponsored poll released Thursday.
The Benenson Strategy Group telephone survey of 701 likely Indiana voters found 46 percent supporting Pence for governor and 40 percent favoring Gregg. Libertarian Rupert Boneham is the choice of 6 percent of those polled; 7 percent said they are undecided.
The poll, conducted Oct. 18 through Oct. 21, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.
Just four months ago, Pence enjoyed an 18 point advantage leading Gregg 53 percent to 35 percent. The poll shows undecided voters and some Pence supporters are now choosing Gregg.
The Democratic candidate, a former speaker of the Indiana House, still has a name-recognition problem with just 56 percent of Hoosiers able to identify Gregg. Three out of four likely voters can identify Pence, a six-term Republican Congressman, according to the poll.
The latest survey was completed before Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Tuesday that pregnancies caused by rape are "intended" by God.
It's not known whether Mourdock's controversial statement will impact support for Pence and other Indiana Republican candidates. The Gregg campaign has spent the past two days trying to link Pence and Mourdock in voters' minds.
All three candidates for governor will meet for their final debate at 6 p.m. region time tonight in Fort Wayne. The debate will be broadcast live on Lakeshore Public Television and Radio (89.1. FM) and webcast at indianadebatecommission.com.
The independent Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll, co-sponsored by The Times, is set to be released late next week. That poll will likely be the final sample of Hoosier voters prior to Election Day, Nov. 6.