October 13th, 2010
04:34 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN/Time Poll: O'Donnell down 19 points in Delaware Senate battle

(CNN) - Hours before they meet in their first debate, a new poll indicates that Democrat Chris Coons holds a large lead over Republican Christine O'Donnell in the Senate battle in Delaware, a race that has captured national attention.

Full results (pdf)

According to a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday, 57 percent of likely voters in Delaware support Coons, the executive of New Castle County, with 38 percent backing O'Donnell, who scored a major upset last month when she defeated Rep. Mike Castle to win Delaware's GOP Senate nomination.

Thanks to support from the Tea Party Express and a major endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as well as the strong anti-establishment and anti-incumbent feelings among voters this year, O'Donnell topped Castle, a moderate Republican who served nine terms in the House as the state's sole congressman.

According to the poll, Coons' 19 point lead among likely voters is up from a 16 point lead in mid September. Among the larger sampling of registered voters, Coon's holds a 29 point lead, up from a 25 point advantage last month.

The survey indicates that Coons has the support of more than nine in ten Democrats, holds a 16 point advantage among independent voters, and has the backing of 17 percent of Republicans, with O'Donnell grabbing three out of four Republican voters.

"Coons is winning among independents despite the fact that a quarter of them are Tea Party supporters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Take the independents who back the Tea Party out of the equation and Coons wins 71 percent among non-partisan independents, as well as 68 percent among moderates."

The Wednesday evening debate will be co-moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, anchor of the Situation Room, and by longtime Delaware news anchor Nancy Karibjanian of Delaware First Media, and will be held at the University of Delaware in Newark, in New Castle County.

"Coons is winning in the northern part of the state, which is his home turf, by a two-to-one margin. O'Donnell has a seven-point lead in the two downstate counties, which tend to vote Republican," Holland notes. "Delaware is a very suburban state, and Coons has a wide lead in the suburbs, although O'Donnell draws some strength in the suburbs that were built in the 1980s and 1990s south of Wilmington and around Dover and were the key to her victory over Castle."

Since her primary victory, the constant unearthing of controversial and colorful comments O'Donnell made around a decade ago on cable television when she was a spokesperson for conservative causes, have kept her in the national spotlight. The "I am not a witch" declaration in her first campaign ad of the general election is a response to comments she made years ago on the program "Politically Incorrect" that she "dabbled in witchcraft." Bill Maher, the host of that program, is now highlighting those old clips in his weekly HBO program "Real Time."

In O'Donnell's first two commercial's she's also said "I am you." But the poll indicates that likely voters, by a 54 to 34 percent margin, say that Coons "better understands the needs and problems of people like you."

The winner in November will fill out the remaining four years of Vice President Joe 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.

According to the survey, 47 percent of likely voters approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in the White House, with an equal among saying they disapprove. Among all adults, Obama's approval rating rises to 57 percent with his disapproval dropping to 37 percent.

The CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted October 8-12, with 1,510 adults, including 1,363 registered voters and 834 likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for likely voters.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Get the latest poll results here.

Filed under: 2010 • CNN/Time poll • Delaware • Polls
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    its really easy to see how bias CNN is by looking at other HONEST polls.

    October 13, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Monster Zero

    I can guarantee that the money spent on her grammar was not her own...so if she gets a refund I would like my proportionate share.

    October 13, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. once upon a horse

    perhaps the "dumbing down of America" is starting to run it's course. Right now Angle is behind Harry in Nevada and many other Tea Party races are getting closer as the election comes near. People might have voted for these types in primaries for fun and grins, but can these folks govern? Well since they only talk to FoxNews and run from everyone else and offer little solutions on the issues I guess we will not know unless they win...GOD FORBID!!

    October 13, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. vicky

    i don't support any republican tea partier because they have no experience in politics and do not care about hispanic college students like myself they believe all hispanics should be deported even if they are citizens. Republicans suck!

    October 13, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  5. C. Rose

    Wow! She is really, really, really BAD. Actually she is just flat out silly.

    October 13, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. proudtobeliberal

    Pardon me, Ms. O'Donnell but I am a small business owner and I am NOT rich. In fact, most small business owners are not rich. Please get your facts straight. Most people will not have their taxes "raised," but only the top tier of wealthy people and wealthy corporations.

    October 13, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. Lew

    I'm in Arizona and you are offering me a Delaware debate, I just changed channels.

    October 13, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. Jim

    I am so tired of hearing because this lady is pretty and because she had to pay for her on college and was mistakenly cited by the IRS that she is not fit to serve. I think she injects such freshness and energy. Look at the Senate and then say she is not qualified. I have never contributed to a political campaign. This year I did because I am so excited that we have Tea Party candidates that are shaking Democrats and yes....Republicans.

    October 13, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. astro24102

    she is sure kicking his butt in the debate.......wow......

    October 13, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. Sally

    This debate is a joke...They will not even let Christine answer, the moderators cut her off and put her down..... You can see see is nervous the way they attacked her right out of the block

    October 13, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Paul

    O'Donnell;s smug smile, hunched shoulders, and disastrous hair don't help her, but her lack of background, factual accuracy, and anything substantial to say already do her in. I'm amazed that Sarah Palin endorsed her,,,,well, maybe I'm not. At least most of the time Sarah looks good,

    October 13, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. Maureen

    I am very betwixt and between about this race. I am a registered republican, a very liberal republican. In good conscience and as the mother of a gay child and as a liberal person I cannot vote for Christine O'Donnell. And while I appreciate that she is not a career politician, I am very offended by the statement in her commercial that she is me. She is not me. I have a job that I have had for years. My husband and I have worked very hard to support our children and put them through school. I may not love my job, but I work at it every single day to support my family. And that family includes my mother who we take care of every single day, who has Alzmeimer's. Don't tell me you are me. Give me a break. And your belief, while I absolutely believe you are entitled to them, you would put my gay child at a disadvantage. I am actually offended that you are speaking at my alma mater. Please stop saying you are me. You are not.

    October 13, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. Angela

    I'm tired of Ms Odonnell and all of our politicians who say we need to stay with these wars. I am retired Air Force, I have a husband currently deployed on his 3rd deployment in 4 yrs. I was saddened when I heard on the news regarding the servicemember who gave his life serving his country and was on his 12th deployment. That is outrageous! Do our politicians not understand that we are PEOPLE, not robots. We have families, friends, etc. It is not okay nor responsible to say it is okay to stay anywhere for as long as it takes. Yes, it is an all volunteer force and I enjoyed every minute of my career. However, I'm tired of the politics and politicians using us as pawns and not respecting us as people first.

    October 13, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. john

    I live in Delaware and vote for who I want. I am not a Party voter. O Donnel I am sorry to say is uninformed to say the least.

    October 13, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. Art Judo

    O'Donnell should have just kept silent instead of removing all doubts. If she wins, then Delaware absolutely deserves her.

    October 13, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  16. Jen

    Really, CNN is broadcasting this over the rescue of the last of the miners!?!? Very disappointing CNN...

    October 13, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. Name

    O'Donnel ignores the question and pushes in her nonsense ideas. She comes across as if she memorized what to say, & I don't believe she understands what she is saying. A bit silly at times.

    October 13, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. northern boy

    I have been watching Wolfs program with the Delaware canidates and was quite shocked at Wolfs bias interviewing. I watched him badger O'donnell but let her oposition say anything without chanllenge.

    October 13, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. NameJuanita4@earthlink.net

    O'Donnel appears to memorize what she has to say without any motion of understanding. She doesn't respond to the question and is a not silly.

    October 13, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. NameJuanita Anyanentow

    O'Donnel mémorises what she has to say without understanding the depth of the question. She never answers the question of fear she might forget everything else. She is a bit childish at times and shows her lack of knowledge on most of the topics. Is this what Americans want because the Tea Party endorses them? Shame Shame Shame!

    October 13, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. Miss Priss

    Gee, they cut into this highly publicized debate to cut to the miner rescue (not that this event isn't important, but waiting several minutes as the capsule comes up and several minutes afterwards and then going to commercials??)..wondering if this is because Ms. O'Donnell was holding her own in the den of lions? Was this was a convenient escape route in case their candidate couldn't win the debate, even with the help of the liberal media on his side?

    October 13, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. Miss Priss

    Nevermind, CNN didn't even bother to go back to the debate at all..

    October 13, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. phil c

    Thanks a lot CNN, no wonder you are losing viewers 90 miles an hour, if I had wanted watch the miners resecue I WOULD NOT BE WATCHING THE DELEWARE DEBATE!!!

    October 13, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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