The Howey/DePauw poll of Indiana's U.S. Senate race is the first locally-based study to give us a trendline. Its first poll on the race revealed that Lugar was polling lower than an incumbent should in a primary. The new poll has Lugar straight-up losing to State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
Mourdock - 48 (+13)
Lugar - 38 (-4)
What on earth is happening? Mourdock is in the challenger's sweet spot -- running his own positive ads while third party groups beat Lugar's brains out.
Mourdock didn't start getting traction against Lugar until he smothered him in questions about his residency. Humiliatingly, Lugar had to prove to a series of annoying elections officials and even more annoying reporters that he had a legitimate voting address in the state. It was an old-fashioned brute politics fight that enabled the Tea Party issue fight that the third party groups wanted.