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%).