October 6th, 2010
12:02 PM ET
12 years ago

O'Donnell far behind, new polls say

(CNN) - One week before a Delaware Senate debate co-moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, two new polls indicate Democratic Senate nominee Chris Coons has a large lead over Republican counterpart Christine O'Donnell in the battle to win the seat held for nearly four decades by Vice President Joe Biden.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey released Wednesday indicates that 53 percent of likely voters in Delaware are supporting Coons, with 36 percent backing O'Donnell.

According to a University of Delaware Center for Political Communication survey also released Wednesday, 49 percent of Delaware registered voters questioned support Coons, with three in ten backing O'Donnell and 13 percent undecided.

The survey indicates that O'Donnell leads 62 to 18 percent among Republicans, Coons leads 77 to 7 percent among Democrats and holds a 39 to 20 percent advantage among independent voters.

Last month O'Donnell upset longtime moderate Republican Rep. and former Gov. Mike Castle in the state's GOP primary. O'Donnell, a conservative commentator who launched unsuccessful Senate bids in 2006 and 2008, was supported and helped by Tea Party activists and by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Since then O'Donnell's been in the spotlight for controversial comments she made years ago when she was a spokesperson for socially conservative causes.

Coons, the executive of New Castle County, the state's most populous county, faced no serious opposition in the Democratic primary.

The Fairleigh Dickinson survey also indicates Coons' leading among Independents and O'Donnell only grabbing 68 percent support among Republican voters.

"Typically, Republicans are more loyal to their party than Democrats," says Dan Cassino, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and survey analyst for the university's PublicMind research group. "This hesitation by Republicans is hurting O'Donnell."

According to a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released two weeks ago, Coons held a 55 to 39 percent lead over O'Donnell among likely voters in Delaware. Among the wider pool of registered voters, Coons' led O'Donnell by 25 points.

The CNN/Time survey indicated that if Castle had won the primary, he would be leading Coon's 55 to 37 percent in the general election match up. Last week Castle announced he would not run in the general election as a write in candidate.

Coons and O'Donnell face off October 13 in a debate at the University of Delaware that will be co-moderated by Blitzer, anchor of CNN's "The Situation Room."

The winner in November will fill out the remaining four years of Biden's final term in the Senate. Biden stepped down from his seat after his election in November 2008 as vice president. Former Biden aide Ted Kaufman was named as an interim replacement, and is not seeking a full term. After much speculation that he would run for his father's old seat, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced in late January that he would instead run for re-election as Delaware attorney general. Coon's announced days later and faced no serious opposition for the Democratic party's nomination.

The University of Delaware poll also indicates that there's weaker emotional support for O'Donnell among her supporters than Coons has among his. The survey is the first released since Castle announced he would not seek a write-in candidacy.

In the battle for Castle's state wide congressional seat, which he's held for 18 years, the survey indicates that Democratic candidate John Carney holds a 48 to 31 percent advantage over Republican Glen Urquhart. According to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released Tuesday, Carney leads Urquhart 51 to 36 percent among likely votes.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll was conducted Sept. 27-Oct. 3, with 801 likely voters in Delaware was questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication poll was conducted Sept. 16-30, with 901 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Filed under: 2010 • Chris Coons • Christine O'Donnell • Delaware • Polls
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. wake up

    Coons is an ADMITTED MARXIST!! What is wrong with you people? Wow, looks like a lot of people will follow any trashing of this women. It's disgusting how the media gets away with sexism towards republican women. If it was a democrat, it would never happen

    October 6, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Ed L

    Of course the DEMS are favored.... look at the nut-bag the GOP nominated. She's even stupider than Palin, which is really saying something.

    October 6, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Marcus

    27 Days until Socialism dies in the United States – Do you realize that you disqualified O'Donnell in your post? Of course (given your pen name) you would say NO!!!! to whatever the Dems proposes (or any of its candidates), but did you realized that you just said 'DON'T VOTE IN HER'???

    October 6, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Edward

    The fact that 36% of pollees would vote for such an incompetent person as O'Donnell who has to come out and say "I am not a witch." bespeaks much about the dumbing down of the American electorate. Countries and cultures decline not because of attacks from the outside, e.g., 9/11, but because of decay from within. Well, the decay is here and now within and she is a prime example. Sad but true.

    October 6, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. MN Hockey Mom

    O'Donnell is down in the polls???? Expect to see Failin' Palin to suddenly distance herself from this nut....

    October 6, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Snow

    COME ON, Delaware, we need to get rid of tax and spend demorats, not elect a self avowed Marxist.

    October 6, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Fred

    So what? Castle in the senate would have meant a Democrat had the seat anyway. Now it looks likes a Marxist will have the seat - six of one a half dozen of the other. And that's how tea partiers see it.

    October 6, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Tam

    I wonder why? Now let's have Sarah run, and participate in a normal debate. OOOOH, that would be entertaining.

    October 6, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. Former Republican - Now Independent

    Hope someone does an audit of her campaign finances after the election.

    October 6, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. bailoutsos

    It's okay if she loses. She can spend the campaign money on her personal debts and send a thank you note to her supporters.

    October 6, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Bill

    TangledThorns – Delaware is mostly registered Dem. The sample percentage reflects that. The sample does cannot be 50-50 (on party) if the total population is skewed to one side. Can you say ignorant?

    October 6, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. mm

    Sniffit – Thank you for responding to TangledThorns response about sampling! It drives me crazy when people without any knowledge of statistics make the ignorant assertions like TangledThorns.
    As for Christine O'Donnell - she scares me because I'm afraid Delawareans will be to confident and not get out to vote. As a native Delawarean I will be totally horrified if she represents my state for the next 4 years. So Delaware - get out and vote!!!!

    October 6, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Johnny Five

    Why are resources wasted in Universities that attempt to see how people vote? Where is the justification of that? Shouldn't the schools use that money for other programs that actually matter and/or those who can't afford school?

    Polls are pointless and the fact that many Universities spend $$$ and time on them is insane. Cavemen must think we're really advanced.

    October 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Annie, Atlanta

    So does that mean we probably won't get a witch in congress (at least that we know of) this time around?

    And just for the record, does anyone else notice that these tea party candidates are starting to remind me of the theocratic driven government of Iran, or maybe even possibly the Taliban, trying to inject hateful religious and radical beliefs into our political discourse (i.e. hating on the gays and funding and assisting Uganda's Kill the Gays Bill – scary stuff)? I was raised a Christian and the "faux religious" zealots I'm seeing these days who hate everyone not like themselves goes against everything I was taught. Are they an aberration or is this a sign of things to come?

    October 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. bdm

    praise God. i was really worried that people with the IQ of a rock would outnumber those of us who use our brains to think and reason.

    October 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Eddie

    @27 days, man u listen to way too much fix news. Were are ur facts? Heres a fact for u are doing alot better now than when the last gop president left office. when was the last time we lost 400,000 jobs in a month?

    October 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. Spence40

    Everybody seems to forget the cry of Kick the incumbents out and Obama is a flaming liberal. Let's see what happens in the upcoming week...

    October 6, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    When are the majority of voters going to realize that the TEALIBAN is the creation of the Koch (Anti-Democracy) Bros. and their attempt to buy the election. Repuglican = regression.

    October 6, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    I would love to watch the debate. This woman is a pickled-brained loon. She'll make more of a fool of herself than Palin did at the vice-presidential debate.

    October 6, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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