Articles and Analysis


Morning Update: O'Donnell's Win Puts Coons Ahead

Topics: 2010 , Chris Coons , Christine O'Donnell , Fox News , PPP , Public Policy polling , Rasmussen

While pollsters released a flurry of new surveys yesterday in the most competitive Senate races, the surprise result in the Delaware Republican primary had a much bigger impact on the GOP's chances of taking control of the Senate this year.

Specifically, Christine O'Donnell's upset of Republican Congressman Mike Castle flips Delaware from a seat that looked comfortably in the Republican column this year, to one that now looks comfortably (if tentatively) Democratic. Four polls conducted since July all showed Castle leading Democrat Chris Coons by double-digit margins, while the most recent Rasmussen poll had Coons leading O'Donnell by 11 (47% to 36%).

Public Policy Polling (PPP) fielded a general election survey in Delaware over the weekend that they plan to release today, though they teased results yesterday that imply an even bigger Coons lead. They reported Coons "polls 26 points better" against O'Donnell than against Castle, that O'Donnell's personal rating is 29% favorable, 50% unfavorable and that only 31% of Delware's voters think she is "fit to hold office."

While we are on the topic, congratulations to PPP for going where all other pollsters feared to tread and producing an accurate forecast of the O'Donnell surprise in Delaware.

As of this hour, the outcome of the New Hampshire Republican primary remains in doubt, with Kelly Ayotte leading Ovide Lamontagne by just under a thousand votes. A victory by Lamontagne would also cheer Democrats, as most polls show Democrat Paul Hodes faring better against Lamontagne than Ayotte. Our current trend estimate based on all public polls shows Hodes trailing Ayotte by 9 points (38.5% to 47.5%), by leading Lamontagne by just over 4 points (41.8% to 37.3%).

Meanwhile, yesterday brought 11 new polls in 7 of the most competitive states. Seven of those survey came from either Rasmussen Reports or from a set of new Fox News tracking polls that -- as I reported yesterday -- use the same field service and essentially the same methodology as the automated Rasmussen polls.

The new surveys included three on the Nevada race between Democratic Senator Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharon Angle. The two automated polls from Rasmussen/Fox show the race slightly closer (a tie and one point Angle edge) than the live-interviewer survey from Ipsos (which puts Reid up by two). Our trend estimate now shows Reid leading Angle by about a point and a half (46.9% to 45.5%).


We also saw three new polls in Ohio -- all automated -- from Rasmussen, Fox and SurveyUSA. All three show Republican Rob Portman leading Democrat Lee Fisher by a comfortable margin. Our [trend estimate](/polls/oh/-10-oh-sen-ge-pvf.html) puts Portman ahead by eight points (47.4% to 39.4%) and gaining support since the summer.


Finally, the new Fox News survey in Florida is the second since the primary to show Republican Marco Rubio hitting a new high of 43% and Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist below 30%. Rubio's lead over Crist on our trend estimate is now nine points (40.1% to 31.1%) with Democrat Kendrick Meek still trailing (19.1%).



According to PPP, Coons leads O'Donnell by 16. Among Castle voters.




Blumenthal ignores the possibility that the huge name-recognition boost created by O'Donnell's victory (She was in the front page of every major news outlet last night) will turn things around for her against Coons.



She's not a new face in Delaware. She was the Republican nominee for senate two years ago. She'll do better than the 34% she got last time, but it's highly unlikely she will even come close to winning.



Blumenthal ignores the possibility that the huge name-recognition boost created by O'Donnell's victory (She was in the front page of every major news outlet last night) will turn things around for her against Coons.

Certainly possible, but she isn't new. The people of Deleware have rejected her again and again. The fact that 80% already have a favorability impression (and 50% of those are negative) demonstrates this, especially since only about 60% have an impression of Coons.



She got 34% last time against a sitting senator, Biden, without any help in a Democratic voting environment.

So if you factor in big time support nationally, name recognition, no incumbent, and a Republican voting environment, she comes a lot closer than 16% back.

The other numbers reflect Castle supporters saying they wouldn't vote for her on polls. Most Castle supporters will vote for her in Nov, or they will have a Democratic Senator.

Delaware also has as low as 8% turnout for elections in off years. That's right folks 8%. So for an extremely low turnout state, she also has the voter enthusiasm to carry the state.

Yep Dems outnumber Reps by 100,000 in Delaware, but if only 8,000 come out and vote, then that doesn't mean much.

I'm not saying she will win. I'm just saying that it's premature to say she can't win. Especially when every Christian Conservative Republican in the country will send her money and support, after the Republican establishment's horrendous treatment of her.

btw Women are also really tired of female candidates being dismissed and treated badly, when lots of underqualified male candidates don't seem to be treated the same way.

aka Biden is a complete and utter buffoon, and probably was the first time he was elected.



I'm sorry, how many men have run for office more than once without being dismissed?

She ran once as a write-in which hardly counts.

She ran a second time as the Republican candidate and got 34%, not bad in a Dem state against a sitting senator.

This is no reason to dismiss her. Dismissing women is getting really, really tired and you know what? Why would anyone vote for a 71 year old white man for a 6 year first-term in office where seniority counts?

Honestly Castle was governor, then congressman, and he felt the need to be a first term senator at 71, hand-picked by the establishment????? I find that old boys club mentality much more problematic than an non establishment candidate being nominated twice to run for the same office.



Also as far as being too extreme a candidate, a 1.3 Trillion Dollar Deficit is extreme and that's all that matters to voters right now.

1.3 TRILLION dollars per annum folks.

Honestly, no matter what other socially conservative views a candidate has, the issues around which are mostly dealt with by courts, as long as they campaign against government spending, that's all that matters.

1.3 TRILLION dollars per year spent more than taken in is staggering, not just extreme.

Who cares if a candiate is Christian as long as s/he will stop Congress from its wreckless spending spree.



The deficit concern trolls. These are the same people who villified Clinton and Gore when they were running a surplus. And didn't say boo when Bush was piling up the deficits. It's only when there is a Democrat in the WH that they suddenly become concerned about deficits.



sb: your post that only 8% of Delaware voters will turn out for the general election is not nearly true. Where did you get this information from. Turnouts in off yesr elections are generally in the 40%-50% range.
And by the way, where was your concern over the deficit when Bush inherited budget surpluses from Clinton?
I know, it only counts when a democrat is president. This is an inherited deficit. not one Obama created.



"The deficit concern trolls"

They've been saying a variation of it for every democratic president since FDR no matter who it is. Sometimes it gets traction, but more often that not, it doesn't. This happens to be a good year to be for deficit control.

I've found the same kinds of concerns from the congressional record during JFK's admin.



I didn't say only 8% of Democrats will turn out to vote. I said that Delaware has had elections where as low as 8% of the TOTAL electorate has come out to vote. I don't know if they were Democrats or Republicans.

I'm sure that more than 8% of Democrats will turn out to vote as the 8% probably came in years where there was not much as stake ie control of the Senate.

However, in a low turnout state, which Delaware most certainly is, extremely high voter enthusiasm among conservative Republicans, may breach the overall deficiency in Republican numbers if Dems don't come out to vote with the same enthusiasm. That is what this year looks like right now. (that may change)

As far as being a deficit troll, I like Bill Clinton. I thought the obsession with his personal life was ridiculous, and he did well with the deficit, bringing it back to a surplus.

Also we are not talking about the president, we are talking about the House and the Senate both of which were Republican controlled when Clinton brought the US back to surplus.

A 1.3 trillion dollar deficit is extreme. The Dems in the Senate and the House don't seem to want to bring it down. This is the best election platform for any Republican.

I really don't think social policy will be much of an issue to voters this cycle. The economy and the deficit are the only issues.

And if pollsters don't think squishy Republicans or independents will vote for O'Donell when control of the Senate is at stake, I think they might be wrong.

The Republican establishment is mighty peeved right now, but they aren't that stupid. Give it three weeks. They will be behind O'Donnell, extreme conservative or not.



"I really don't think social policy will be much of an issue to voters this cycle."

Then why did the Glen Beck rally start out "We're going back to God?"

Clearly the cultural/social issues are still salient.

"he did well with the deficit, bringing it back to a surplus."

He did it in large part because the size of the army was halved in the 1990s, as well as many air force reductions thanks to the end of the Cold War.

Harding made significant deficit reduction by cutting the Navy (which had bad results in WWII, but it saved a lot of money in the meantime).

Any deficit reduction must include defense, and be serious about it. I would go along with across the board cuts if republicans INCLUDED defense and veterans benefits. They are all against health care but they have no problem with single payer for servicemen and veterans for life.

They are never going to do that because they are huge hypocrites.



Dismissing women is getting really, really tired and you know what?

Dismissing her has nothing to her being a woman. It has everything to do with the fact that she's insane. Were she a man, she'd be just as insane.



"They are all against health care but they have no problem with single payer for servicemen and veterans for life."

Yeah, it's very different. Society owes a huge debt of gratitude to the veterans, but it nothing of the kind to healthy, able-bodied young males.

BTW, what's with the hostility towards veterans' benefits, that I noticed pops up every so often? And don't you get VA benefits for life, having served for six years, including tours in war zones?



Yeah I'm pretty sure veterans benefits are a drop in the US budgetary bucket.

I think that pork barelling would be my axe target of choice. Oh yeah that and Wall Street, or Car company bailouts.

I think the deficit can be trimmed while leaving veterans their benefits.

btw Romney and his PAC as well as Steele and the RNC have come out backing O'Donnell this afternoon.

She won. Republicans will suck it up and back her and send her money and support. They'll all get over the fact that their old boy didn't win in about three weeks.

I don't know if she will win, but the polls will be closer than they are today.



The NRSC sent O'Donnell a $42,000 donation today after saying they were going to take their ball and go home last night.

I guess they changed their minds.



Democratic turnout in Delaware yesterday was 12% by the way including absentees. Republican turnout was almost tripple at 32%.

Election Date: 09/14/10

325 of 325 Districts Reporting = 100%

Absentee Votes Reported
New Castle : Y
Kent : Y
Sussex : Y

For Statewide Offices:
Democratic Voter Turnout = 12 %
Republican Voter Turnout = 32 %



O'Donnell has raised 1.25 million on her web site today, wiping out any financial advantage Coons had.


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