9:44 am Nov. 2, 2012
A new battleground poll in Indiana shows Republican Richard Mourdock trailing Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly by 11 points, a result that casts considerable doubt on Republicans' ability to re-take the Senate.
The state was supposed to have been an easy win for Republicans; Dick Lugar, the Republican who lost to Mourdock in the primary, always won with massive margins, sometimes running unopposed, and Mitt Romney currently leads by 10 in the state.
But Mourdock, a proud Tea Partier who has denounced compromising with Democrats, exemplifies the problems Republicans are having trying to win the upper chamber.
In September, he trailed Donnelly by two points.
Then, in a debate last month, he explained his opposition to abortion, without exceptions, by saying pregnancies resulting from rape are "something that God intended to happen." And now Donnelly's lead is up to 11.
Democrats were rooting for Mourdock to win the primary, just like they were pulling for Todd Akin, the Missouri Senate nominee whose comments about "legitimate rape" suggested that women were less likely to get pregnant from forcible rapes.
Missouri, which voted for John McCain in 2008, was supposed to be a relatively easy pick-up for Republicans, after Claire McCaskill narrowly won in a Democratic wave in 2006.
But now both Republican candidates are down, and trying to claw their way back.
Mourdock has fared slightly better with other Republicans, who have been spending millions trying to salvage Mourdock's candidacy.