INDIANAPOLIS — A new poll gives Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a significant lead in Indiana's Republican presidential primary, with support from 44.8% of voters polled.
The Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics poll puts GOP front-runner Donald Trump in second place with 29% and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in third with 13.3% of the vote.
But 13% of Hoosier voters surveyed said voluntarily that they didn't know who they would vote for — and, paired with a 4.9% margin of error, that could still put the candidates in a neck-and-neck race.
"I can understand this might be an incredibly optimistic poll for Cruz," said Andy Downs, director of the politics center. "But I think there must be something going on in the electorate that makes the race closer than some people think."
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 55% to 40.3%, with 4.8% of voters undecided.
The poll was conducted among 400 voters across the state from April 13-27. Downs said 30% of the surveys were completed before Cruz and Kasich announced a pact for Kasich to pull out of campaigning in Indiana, intended to block Trump from winning the state.
But Downs said he thinks the decision is not likely to help either of the two candidates, because they didn't immediately effectively tell voters whether they should stick with their preferred candidate or switch over to support Cruz.
A handful of surveys were completed after Cruz announced Carly Fiorina would be his vice presidential pick if he won the Republican nomination, Downs said.
Two other polls conducted prior to those two announcements gave Trump slight leads over Cruz in Indiana.
Trump and Cruz, who have made numerous campaign trips throughout the state, will return to the Indianapolis area Monday to make a final push for votes before Tuesday’s primary.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will campaign for Cruz on Monday, according to Cruz campaign communications director Alice Stewart.
Pence, who endorsed Cruz on Friday while also commending Trump, recorded a radio ad for the Cruz campaign.
"I really admire the way Ted Cruz has been willing to stand up for taxpayers in opposing runaway spending, deficits and debt, calling for and leading on repealing Obamacare," Pence says in the ad. "I think the man has shown the courage of his convictions. It’s not a popular thing in Washington, D.C., to take on the leadership of your own party and he’s been willing to do that."