A Daily Kos/Research 2000 survey found former Rep. John Hostettler (R) polling better than former Sen. Dan Coats (R) in hypothetical Senate matchups against Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth.
Hostettler led Ellsworth 40 percent to 34 percent in the Feb. 22-24 survey.
Coats, who retired from the Senate in 1999, polled at 37 percent to Ellsworth’s 36 percent.
The pollster surveyed 600 likely voters; the results have a 4-point margin of error.
Coats had the highest unfavorability rating of all candidates tested — 36 percent. That could be a sign that Democratic attacks on his post-Senate background as a lobbyist have been effective.
The poll was taken before Rep. Baron Hill (D) announced that he would not run for the Senate. Like Ellsworth, Hill narrowly trailed Hostettler in the survey.
The poll did not test any of the other three Republican candidates in the race — state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, financial adviser Don Bates Jr. and anti-tax “tea party” activist Richard Behney.
Ellsworth is the leading Democratic candidate for the seat of retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D). A committee of Democratic officials will select a nominee this spring.