Feels good to be back in the game!
Public Policy Polling (PDF) for Daily Kos. 8/7-8. Registered voters. MoE 4% (No trendlines)
If the candidates for US Senate this fall were Republican Mike Castle and Democrat Chris Coons, who would you vote for?
All Dem GOP Ind
Chris Coons (D) 35 55 12 23
Mike Castle (R) 48 30 75 50
Undecided 17 15 13 27
Chris Coons (D) 44 67 17 29
Christine O'Donnell (R) 37 16 67 40
Undecided 19 16 15 31
O'Donnell is the local teabagger-supported fringe nut. And while she's been picking up some pretty big right-wing endorsements of late, fact is Delaware Republicans like Castle. He should win his primary easily, which is too bad. We'd be much better off facing the teabagger in the general election.
But even Castle is looking less than invincible, hovering under the 50 percent mark, and he is the de facto incumbent in this race, having been elected statewide in a succession of races since 1980, from Lt. Governor, to governor, to the House. And while incumbency doesn't appear to be too much of a drag on his name, this is a Democratic state, and his party ID is clearly having an effect. Given his popularity ratings, he should be enjoying a far bigger lead.
Coons is unknown by 39 percent of the electorate and has plenty of room to grow. And while the political culture in Delaware prevents him from going hard after Castle (civility is important), the state has proven its willingness to oust long-time AND beloved incumbents like Sen. William Roth (of Roth-IRA fame). Roth had served as a statewide federal elected official starting in 1966 until being defeated by current Sen. Tom Carper in 2000 despite being wildly popular -- a Mason-Dixon poll on July 10-12, 2000, found that Roth's favorable/unfavorable ratings were 53/16. Yet he still lost, in large part because of his age and health. Castle is currently 70 years old.
North Dakota and Arkansas are guaranteed Republican pickups this November. Delaware is clearly Republican favored, but this one hasn't been locked away just yet. Still, Coons won't start making serious headway until he improves his numbers among Democrats. In fact, Coons is getting just 59 percent of liberal voters, with 27 percent opting for Castle. That has to change.
Meanwhile, the House race to replace Castle remains one of the Democrat's top pickup opportunities this year, with John Carney currently beating Republicans Michele Rollins (48-31) and Glen Urquhart (48-30).
p.s. PPP polled respondents who had voted in at least one of the last three elections, so the standard is more than "registered voters", but less than "likely voters". Starting next week in our poll of Missouri, PPP will move to a "likely voter" screen.
Update: Here is the raw data file. We'll eventually figure out a better way to deliver and display this data, but for now, here's a .csv file.