Delaware Senate: Coons Beats O’Donnell, Castle Would’ve Beaten Coons

Last night's celebration in Wilmington is sure to be tempered just a bit by news that Christine O'Donnell is sixteen points behind her Democratic opponent.

As promised, Public Policy Polling is out with the General Election portion of the poll it conducted in Delaware over the weekend, and the news is very good for the Democrats:

Republicans more than likely cost themselves a Senate seat last night. Chris Coons begins the general election in Delaware with a 50-34 lead over Christine O’Donnell. Mike Castle would have led Coons by a 45-35 margin.

While O’Donnell may have ingratiated herself to Delaware’s small group of registered Republicans over the last month she’s turned off everyone else. An August Daily Kos/PPP poll in Delaware found her favorability rating at 23/33. It’s now 29/50.

If Castle had won he would have received more Democratic support than any other Republican Senate candidate in the country. Now our polling suggests with O’Donnell’s victory that Coons will win more Republicans than any other Democratic Senate candidate in the country. That’s because of a general unwillingness to support O’Donnell from Castle’s moderate base- folks from the centrist wing of the GOP are planning to support Coons 54-31. Overall he takes a full 25% of the GOP vote while also largely consolidating the Democratic base for a 72-13 lead on that front. He also has a narrow 42-36 advantage with independents, a group Democrats are losing with most everywhere else.

Only 31% of voters in the state think O’Donnell’s fit to hold public office while 49% think that she is not. Even with Republicans in the state less than half at 48% believe that she is. That may seem inconsistent with her victory last night but keep in mind that our general election poll includes GOP voters who were not planning to vote in yesterday’s primary. Only 33% of independents and 16% of Democrats believe O’Donnell’s fit.

The poll internals are pretty grim for O’Donnell supporters who are still flush with victory:

  • O’Donnell has a  29/50 favorable/unfavorable rating among voters as a whole. The number is 31/46 among independents, 41/46 among Republicans, and 13/60 among Democrats
  • 49% of overall voters don’t think O’Donnell is fit to serve in the Senate. Among independents, it’s 47%. Among Republicans, 36%, and among Democrats 61%.

The big caveat here is that this poll was conducted prior to the primary so it may not be the best representation of the state of the General Election field. Nonetheless, it’s clear that O’Donnell has a massive problem here. As Steven Taylor said this morning, the Republicans have thrown away a winnable Senate seat. If that’s what they want, fine, but it doesn’t strike me as a good long term strategy.

Photo Credit: New York Times

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Congress, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Idiot says:

    Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  Now all the fools on my side can look themselves in the mirror when they wonder who is to blame for not stopping Obamacare and more liberal/left judges get appointed to the bench.

    What an unnesscary gift for the SEIU.

  2. JKB says:

    Yes, the Republicans have just thrown away a seat that a year ago they’d never have even considered a possibility.  Of course, the only real thing we’re learning from this election is that that the pollsters can’t shoot straight.  Poll after poll, projection after projection, all we hear is how the Tea Party candidate or the Sarah Palin back candidate can’t win.  But then back in reality, they win.  Perhaps this will hold true for the general election, perhaps not.  But if it does, I’d bet there’ll be some pollsters joining the great unwashed in the unemployment lines.  Sell enough snake oil and you eventually get bitten.
     
    So it’s terrible news, the Republicans might lose a Senate seat the Republicans never even considered making a serious run for six months ago.  If the non-Tea Party Republicans want a seat at the table, they should develop some ideas and start trying to sell them on the open market.

  3. mantis says:

    Yes, the Republicans have just thrown away a seat that a year ago they’d never have even considered a possibility.
    You posted similar idiocy on the other thread.  The seat was already held by a Republican, and one who would have almost assuredly won in the general election. The Republicans didn’t consider a seat they already held a possibility?  Are you retarded?
    So it’s terrible news, the Republicans might lose a Senate seat the Republicans never even considered making a serious run for six months ago
    Republicans, these teabaggers don’t even know what Senate seats are held by which party, and you want to pin your hopes on them?  Good luck and good riddance.

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    To start with it doesn’t automatically follow Castle would have been elected. DE is a fairly reliable Dem state so he was no shoo in. That said, O’Donnell’s nomination makes it much more likely the Democrats win the seat.  

  5. mantis says:

    DE is a fairly reliable Dem state so he was no shoo in.
    We’re talking about Mike Castle here.  He was a shoo in.

  6. Mike Castle has been winning statewide elections in Delaware when he ran for Lt. Governor. He went from that office to the Governor’s Mansion and then, in the 90s, became the at-large Member of Congress. He did it because he was able to appeal to the Democratic and independent voters that make up most of the state, especially in the voter-rich areas around New Castle, Dover, and Wilmington.

    O”Donnell cannot count on getting those votes, and if this poll is any indication, she won’t be able to.

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    Boy, you guys are defensive. I didn’t say he wouldn’t likely win just that he wasn’t a shoo in. And if he walked on water how come he got beaten in his own party’s primary.

  8. mantis says:

    Boy, you guys are defensive.
    So if someone responds to your comment, it’s being defensive?  How so?
    I didn’t say he wouldn’t likely win just that he wasn’t a shoo in.
    And we’re disagreeing, saying he would have been a shoo in.  That’s because we understand Delaware politics, and you clearly don’t.
    And if he walked on water how come he got beaten in his own party’s primary.
    No one said he walked on water.  Castle is an extremely well-known Delaware politician who has held many offices for the state, is well-liked by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike.  He has sailed to victory in almost every election he has run.  He’s won, many times, when his own party lost statewide.  Anyway, you want to know why he lost the primary?  Teabaggers.  About 58,000 people voted in the Delaware Senate Republican primary, and O’Donnell won by about 3500 votes.  Even with Delaware’s small population, that’s nothing.  The Republican party has fed the tea party monster for so long now it’s grown big enough to start destroying them, piece by piece.  All the crap they’ve been slinging for the past two years was enough to push a few thousand people towards a clearly crazy grifter lady, and that’s how Mike Castle lost.  It’s a weird year, but not weird enough for Mike Castle to lose a general election in Delaware, and certainly not weird enough for O’Donnell to win.  We reap what we sow, and the Republicans are reaping the whirlwind now.

  9. Nikki says:

    “And if he walked on water how come he got beaten in his own party’s primary.”
    Because the Republican party has gone completely bonkers in believing that its far-right candidates can siphon off independent and liberal voters.

  10. MichaelW says:

    You posted similar idiocy on the other thread.  The seat was already held by a Republican, and one who would have almost assuredly won in the general election. The Republicans didn’t consider a seat they already held a possibility?  Are you retarded?
    Really?  Who do you think that was?  You do know this was Joe Biden’s former seat, to which Gov. Ruth Ann Minnerk (D) appointed Ted Kaufman to fulfill Biden’s term.  So, who’s retarded?
    That’s because we understand Delaware politics, and you clearly don’t.
    Actually, none of you all do.
    Mike Castle has been winning statewide elections in Delaware when he ran for Lt. Governor. He went from that office to the Governor’s Mansion and then, in the 90s, became the at-large Member of Congress. He did it because he was able to appeal to the Democratic and independent voters that make up most of the state, especially in the voter-rich areas around New Castle, Dover, and Wilmington.
    That’s true, but you have to remember that (a) he got a huge leg up with the help of Gov. Pete DuPont (who is one DE’s most popular governors ever), (b) he and Tom Carper basically “switched seats” in the middle of his career, and (c) as DE’s lone Rep, he doesn’t get much attention paid to him.  None of that’s to say he wouldn’t have won in the general election, but that he’s not some rock-star politician in DE.
     

    “Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  Now all the fools on my side can look themselves in the mirror when they wonder who is to blame for not stopping Obamacare and more liberal/left judges get appointed to the bench.
    What an unnesscary gift for the SEIU.
    Actually, if (when?) O’Connell loses, it will only matter for Republican hopes of taking the Senate if they pick up nine other seats.  Less than nine, or more than nine, and the O’Connell race doesn’t matter.  Since the mot hopeful projection I’ve heard is a possible pick-up of 7-8 seats, then it’s hard to figure out how possibly losing this one seat actually matters a great deal.

  11. James Young says:

    I’m always impressed when people (like you, Doug) who despise Republicans try to tell us how best to be Republicans or to win elections.