For all the Mourdock campaign said about the comment not mattering to voters and arguing that the electorate was more concerned with the federal health care overhaul and federal spending, some voters said it still weighed on their minds in the voting booth.
Kaye Young, 78, of Indianapolis voted for Lugar in the primary and said she thought it was "a shame they kicked him out."
She said Richard Mourdock "irritated the tar out of me" with his comment on rape. But she still voted for him.
"I don't want a Democrat in there," she said.
Mourdock's comment came to be the defining moment of the race. A Howey/DePauw University Battleground poll taken Oct. 28-30 showed Donnelly opening a double-digit lead over Mourdock.
"Candidates really matter in Indiana. They (voters) want a good, common-sense approach. They don't like candidates too far in either direction," said Christine Matthews, a veteran Republican pollster who conducted the Howey/DePauw poll with Democratic pollster Fred Yang.
Indiana's Senate battle was the most expensive the state ever has seen, topping $25 million spent on air by outside groups and the campaigns.
Donnelly now becomes the new standard-bearer for Indiana's Democrats, whose statewide successes almost exclusively have stemmed from the Bayh family. Mourdock, meanwhile, joins the ranks of tea party candidates who ousted moderate Republicans in primaries but could not find enough support among the general electorate.