Delaware Senate: Possible Castle write-in drops Coons (D) below 50% against O’Donnell (R)

Election 2010: Delaware Senate


It is possible that a write-in campaign by Congressman Mike Castle could hurt Democrat Chris Coons more than Republican Christine O’Donnell in the Delaware campaign for U.S. Senate.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Delaware voters finds Coons with 49% support, while O’Donnell earns 40% of the vote. Castle, a longtime congressman who lost to O’Donnell in the state’s GOP Primary, picks up five percent (5%). Another five percent (5%) remain undecided.

Polling for write-in campaigns is always challenging, so results should be interpreted with caution. For this survey, Rasmussen Reports asked respondents about a choice between Coons and O’Donnell without mentioning Castle. That is the choice voters will see when they enter the voting booth. However, when response options were offered to survey respondents, Castle’s name was mentioned.

Castle has not indicated that he will run a write-in campaign and it is likely that his support could increase if he were to do so. Rasmussen Reports did ask Castle supporters who they would vote for in a two-person race and virtually all said either Coons or not sure.

The race remains solidly Democratic in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings.

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The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Delaware was conducted on September 26, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

Castle is still exploring a possible write-in candidacy but has yet to announce his decision. In the latest survey of the Alaska Senate race, for example, Lisa Murkowski, another incumbent defeated in a Republican Primary, earns 27% support after formally announcing her write-in bid, but she still trails her party’s nominee, Joe Miller.

A week ago, Coons held a 53% to 42% lead over O’Donnell in the first Rasmussen Reports survey following her upset primary win.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of Delaware Democrats support Coons, while 72% of the state’s Republicans favor O’Donnell. Castle draws support from seven percent (7%) of GOP voters and three percent (3%) of Democrats. Among voters not affiliated with either party, O’Donnell picks up 43% to Coons’ 32%, with Castle trailing at seven percent (7%).

O’Donnell leads Coons by eight points among male voters, but the Republican candidate loses women by 25.

Fifteen percent (15%) of Delaware voters consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, comparable to findings nationally. Seventy-two percent (72%) say they are not members of that movement which was instrumental in helping O’Donnell beat Castle, the favorite in surveys for months before the actual primary. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Ninety-six percent (96%) of those who say they are Tea Party members support O’Donnell, as do 27% of non-members. Sixty-three percent (63%) of those who say they are not part of the movement favor Coons.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of all voters in the state favor repeal of the national health care bill, which is slightly lower than support for repeal nationally. Forty-three percent (43%) oppose repeal. This includes 42% who Strongly Favor repeal of the bill and 38% who are Strongly Opposed.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of those who Strongly Favor repeal support O’Donnell. Eighty-three percent (83%) of those who are Strongly Opposed back Coons.

Forty-two percent (42%) of all voters in the state say health care repeal would be good for the economy. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say repeal would have a bad economic impact.

Coons, the county executive of New Castle County, the largest in the state, is viewed favorably by 57% of Delaware voters and unfavorably by 36%. This includes 24% with a Very Favorable opinion and 21% with a Very Unfavorable one.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) regard O’Donnell, a longtime conservative activist, favorably, including 20% with a Very Favorable view of her. But 56% hold an unfavorable opinion of the Republican candidate, with 43% Very Unfavorable toward her.

For Castle, a moderate Republican who has served in the Congress since 1993, favorables are 57% and unfavorables 38%, including 26% Very Favorable and 17% Very Unfavorable.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Delaware voters say the country’s current economic problems are due more to the recession that began under President George W. Bush than to the policies of President Obama. Thirty-eight percent (38%) blame Obama’s policies more, but that’s less critical of the current president’s policies than voters are nationally.

Still, only 32% agree with Obama’s recent declaration that the current policies of the federal government have the country moving in the right direction. Fifty-two percent (52%) say those policies do not have the country on the right course.

Voters in the state are evenly divided when asked which of the major political parties they trust more when it comes to taxes, but they give Republicans a slight edge when it comes to dealing with immigration.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Delaware voters now approve of the job the president is doing, while 46% disapprove. That’s higher job approval than the president earns nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.