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Outside Groups Fueling Political Advertising

Last updated on Thursday, October 18, 2012

(UNDATED) - The flip-flop in polling in Indiana’s U-S Senate race mostly coincides with a huge amount of money spent by outside groups targeting Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly.

The web site OpenSecrets.org says that in the last week alone, more than 1.6 million dollars in advertising has been purchased by groups unaffiliated with political campaigns. All but 181-dollars of that was spent on ads or mailers either favoring Republican Richard Mourdock or that were critical of Donnelly.

The money began flowing in earnest after a Howey Politics/DePauw University poll released September 27th showed Donnelly with a two-point lead over Mourdock, 40-percent to 38-percent, though that was within the poll's margin of error.

A poll released by Rasmussen on Monday, taken during the recent outside ad blitz, gave Mourdock a five-point lead, 47-to-42 percent. The Rasmussen survey did not include Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning, who drew the support of seven-percent of respondents in the Howey poll.

Ray Scheele, a political science professor at Ball State University, says the spending on the part of conservative groups plus the visits by prominent Republicans such as Senator John McCain and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie show that the GOP is serious about wanting to win this seat.

Scheele says Republicans know they can't win control of the U.S. Senate unless they hold the seat that belongs to Dick Lugar, who was defeated in the primary by Mourdock.

Scheele notes that Democrats believe they can also win the seat, and though they are being outspent at the moment, Donnelly is not short of money or star-powered help. The Congressman raised 1.5 million dollars for his own campaign during the third quarter, and former President Bill Clinton visited Indianapolis this week to stump for Donnelly. But Mourdock raised twice as much for his campaign during the quarter, and the only recent outside spending on behalf of Donnelly was 181-dollars spent by the United Steelworks union on bumper stickers.

The majority of the money spent over the past week, more than 1 million dollars, came from Crossroads GPS - a group associated with former Bush Senior Adviser Karl Rove - on anti-Donnelly TV ads.

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