Indiana had better get used to the thought of life without Sen. Dick Lugar – a prospect sad to his admirers, overdue to his critics and foreign to almost any Hoosier who’s cast a ballot in the last four decades.

A new poll released Friday brought grim tidings for the 80-year-old Lugar just four days from his Republican primary showdown with state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. The Indiana Battleground Poll, commissioned by Howey Politics Indiana and DePauw University, found the tea party-backed Mourdock ahead of Lugar by 10 percentage points.

Recent polling by pro-Mourdock groups showed him closing in on the six-term incumbent, although the new poll was the first independent data to be released since another Howey-DePauw survey a month ago.

The news appeared to send Lugar into desperation mode, as he asked in a Friday news conference for independents and Democrats to cross party lines and save him. His backers held onto hope but lamented the distinct chance his tenure, defined largely by his reputation of bipartisanship, was running out.

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