The Hoosier Pulse: A survey of Political and Policy Insiders

A Hathaway Strategies – Bellwether Research Indiana Opinion Leader Survey

Methodology and Topline Results at the end.

Key Findings

 Presidential Contest

  • Before John Kasich announced he was suspending his Indiana campaign, 63% of Hoosier Pulse opinion leaders (Republicans, Democrats and independents) predicted Donald Trump will win the May 3rd Republican primary in Indiana, while 29% said Ted Cruz will win. Most of the input came before the release of public polls in the state, but Republican insiders pick Trump to win over Cruz at about the same margin as voter preference (49%-42%, while 9% chose Kasich). *Note, we did not ask personal vote preference. This is a prediction of outcome.

  • Although public polling in Indiana shows a relatively competitive contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Democratic and Republican insiders overwhelmingly believe Hillary Clinton will win Indiana (89% Clinton vs. 11% Sanders).

  • A majority (58%) of Hoosier insiders believe Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee coming out of Cleveland, while 22% say Ted Cruz, 15% say John Kasich and 4% say it will be someone not currently in the race (with one hopeful vote for “My Man Mitch”). Republican insiders were a little less bullish on Trump’s chances (53%), while splitting between Kasich (21%) and Cruz (21%).

  • If Ted Cruz or John Kasich is the Republican Party presidential nominee, they are predicted to carry Indiana (Kasich is seen as particularly strong), but if Donald Trump is the nominee, by a 57% – 43% margin insiders think Hillary Clinton would carry the state.

U.S. Senate Primary

  • By an overwhelming 82%-18% margin, Hoosier Pulse insiders think Todd Young will defeat Marlin Stutzman in the U.S. Senate primary. Republicans are even more confident (88%) that Todd Young will prevail acheter cialis.

Gubernatorial Contest

  • Hoosier Pulse participants are split on the likely outcome of the gubernatorial race, giving a slight edge (51%) to Mike Pence over John Gregg (49%). Over eight in ten Republican insiders predict Pence will win, while 96% of Democrats say John Gregg will win.

  • Opinion leaders are divided about the issues or topics that will dominate or define the gubernatorial election. Republicans hope economic and fiscal issues will dominate and that their healthy status will help Pence’s re-election bid. Insiders also say that Governor Pence has pushed social and cultural issues like abortion and gay rights to the forefront and Democrats will highlight this.

Verbatim Comments:

 “Pence will again try to make it about jobs/taxes/budget, but will not be able to escape his social issue gambits. The question will be, can Gregg capitalize, not necessarily on the social issues specifically, but the notion that Pence has taken his eye off the ball. Gregg is perhaps the worst messenger D’s could have chosen. Kathy Davis could have been Pence’s worst nightmare.”   Republican opinion leader.

“I do think Pence has let the social issues define this race – – LGBT and Abortion come top of mind. And, while abortion may not be a distinguishing factor between Pence and Gregg, I think the LGBT community will work hard to make it an issue in this race. Pence will try to make it the economy but he continues to wage the social issue wars which seem to undercut or at least drown out his economics
message.” Republican opinion leader

“Economy – Lack of real income growth. Individuals don’t believe their incomes are keeping pace. Social Issues – RFRA/LGBT/Abortion (While I am pro-life, recent abortion bill was a 50/50 proposition politically. This will not endear Pence to independents or college educated women (where he needs to make up ground). It may assist Pence with evangelicals and staunch pro-lifers). Voters will ultimately decide if they believe Pence is out of touch or not which will be a key overriding theme from Democrats.” Republican opinion leader

“This is where Gregg must establish his new-found credentials as more progressive on social issues: RFRA, abortion and the rights of LGTBQ and women in general. These are the key voting blocs he needs to overcome the reliable religious conservative voters.” Independent opinion leader

  • Although the Gregg campaign has shown strong fundraising prowess recently, the Pence campaign’s cash-on-hand advantage, and the fact that Indiana is reliably Republican (exception: 2008) in presidential years are seen as advantages for the incumbent. Confounding the situation for Pence, though, is the question over who will be the Republican presidential nominee. If it’s Donald Trump, insiders think Hillary Clinton will carry the state. While insiders believe that Pence has hurt himself, there are questions about whether John Gregg is a strong or effective enough candidate to take advantage of it.

Verbatim Comments:

“In the end, Republican demographics of this state will probably pull Pence over the finish line. Gregg needs this to be a referendum on Pence overall but has to make voters comfortable that he brings a competent correction of course. It’s unclear yet that he can do that.” Independent opinion leader

“Hillary Clinton will not help the Democrat ticket in Indiana. However, it will be a bruising and expensive campaign. Pence has a lot of work to get independents and college educated women back. Suburbs will be battleground.”  Republican opinion leader

“Mike Pence must convince suburban and donut county republicans that he is the best choice; otherwise, he loses.” Lean Republican opinion leader

“He (Pence) will get drug down by the Presidential ticket assuming Trump is the nominee, much like he did with Mourdock in ’12. The problem is he is in a more difficult situation this year because of an over-emphasis on social issues the past 4 years.” Republican opinion leader

“They’re both terrible candidates, but Pence has destroyed his own brand over the last three years because social issues are his catnip.” Democratic opinion leader

Abortion and Civil Rights

  • Nearly three-fourths of Hoosier Pulse participants oppose (56% strongly) the new abortion law that is scheduled to go into effect in July, including 60% of Republican opinion leaders.

  • Nearly eight in ten support (61% strongly) adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protections under Indiana Civil Rights law.



Invited to participate

The following list includes Republican and Democratic Party officials at the local, district, and state level, former party officials and elected officials, leading interest group, policy, and business leaders and lobbyists, academics, former journalists, and other opinion leaders from across the state. The partisan composition of the full list is roughly 47% Republican – 43% Democrat and 10% not identified or independent. 72 participated in the April Hoosier Pulse survey which was conducted April 19 – 24, 2016.  One in four who participated holds a party position.

Kathy Altman, Devin Anderson, Terri Austin, Greg Ballard, Nick Barbknecht, Bill Beane, Lara Beck, Tanya Bell, Karl Berron, Tim Berry, Ann Bochnowski, Dean Boerste, Beth Boyce, Monica Boyer, Ginger Bradford, Kevin Brinegar, David Brooks, Judy Buck, Brian Burdick, Cordella Lewis Burks, Brian Burton, Jeff Cardwell, Diane Masari Carter, Tory Castor, Zach Cattell, Jeffrey Chidester, Libby Cierzniak, Keith Clock, Marsha Coats, Betty Cockrum, Lynn Coleman, Deborah Daniels, Carmen Darland, Bill Davis, Kathy Davis, Jerome Davison, Ann Delaney, Adam Dickey, Eric Doden, Andy Downs, Dan Dumezich, Craig Dunn, Bruce Dye, Sue Ellspermann, Brad Ellsworth, Roni Embry, Robert Enlow, David Fagen, Michelle Fajman, Jeff Fites, Deb Fleming, David Frye, Chip Garver, Chris Gibson, Christy Gillenwater, Brenda Goff, Bob Grand, Jennifer Hallowell, John Hammond, Peter Hanscom, Anne Hathaway, Shannon Kiely Heider, Paul Helmke, Mike Hicks, Misty Hollis, David Holt, Rebecca Holwerda, Al Hubbard, Mike Huber, Kyle Hupfer, Terri Jett, Tom John, Lacy Johnson, Mike Jones, Angela Smith Jones, Joan Kanizer, Melina Kennedy, Joe Kernan, John Ketzenberger, Adam Kirsch, Fred Klipsch, Jeff Knight, Barb Knochel, Barb Krisher, Randy Kron, Rebecca Kubacki, , Anthony Long, Steve Lowry, Mark Lubbers, Teresa Lubbers, Mary Jayne Mahern, Annie Mansfield, Rick Martin, Tony Mason, Carol McDaniel, Mike McDaniel, Shari Mellin, Joel Miller, Eric Miller, Lawren Mills, Jim Morris, Mike Murphy, Martha Nice, Jamey Noel, Kevin Ober, Mike O’Brien, Mike O’Connor, Charlie Odier, Bill Oesterle, Dan Parker, Tonda Pauley, Chris Paulsen, Bart Peterson, Jennifer Ping, Jim Purucker, Barbara Quandt, Mel Raines, Ron Richmond, Sarah Riordan, Megan Robertson, Mary Beth Schneider, Angie Schritter, Eric Schronce, Jon Schwantes, Vi Simpson, Becky Skillman, Curt Smith, Joe Smith, Mark Souder, Jane Ade Stevens, Rick Sutton, Patrick Tamm, Kip Tew, John Thompson, Milt Thompson, Brett Voorhies, Jennifer Wagner, Betsy Wiley, Heather Wiley, Chuck Williams, John Williams, Colleen Williamson, Robin Winston, Mark Wynn, Patricia Yount, Gail Zeheralis, John Zody.

Topline results can be found here: Hoosier Pulse results.