By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - An internal Democratic poll obtained by Howey Politics Indiana shows Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Gregg leading Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb 46-39% with 6% backing Libertarian Rex Bell and 9% undecided.

The poll by Expedition Strategies and pollster Pete Brodnitz conducted last week also shows Democrat U.S. Senate nominee Evan Bayh with a 58-32% lead over U.S. Rep. Todd Young with 9% undecided. Howey Politics Indiana and WTHR-TV will be conducting three non-partisan polls between now and the Nov. 8 election.

Since Holcomb was nominated by the Indiana Republican Central Committee on July 26 to replace vice presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence and Bayh was nominated by the Indiana Democratic Central Committee in late July to replace former nominee Baron Hill, there has been no independent, non-partisan polling on either race.

In the memo of this partisan poll, Brodnitz writes: “Gregg’s name ID is up 13% since we polled in June (48% had an opinion of Gregg in June, but now 61% do). Gregg’s favorability has also increased – in June, 34% viewed him favorably, while 14% viewed him unfavorably. Now, 42% view him favorably, while 19% view him unfavorably.”

As for Holcomb, Brodnitz observes, “39% rate Holcomb’s performance as lieutenant governor as fair/poor, while 28% rate his performance as excellent/good. A third (33%) of voters are unable to rate his performance, which suggests there is room to define his record with voters.”

A majority (50%) say they want change that represents a significantly new direction, while 43% say they want change that builds on the current direction established by Governor Pence.

The Gregg campaign released the polling memo to HPI, but not the top lines or cross tabs.