Castle Leads Coons in Delaware Senate Race

Castle Leads Coons in Delaware Senate Race

By Scott Conroy - September 7, 2010

Republican Rep. Mike Castle is holding onto a 48 percent to 37 percent lead against Democratic county executive Chris Coons, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone poll of 500 likely voters in Delaware.

The new poll, conducted on September 2, showed similar results to last month's Rasmussen survey, when Castle led 49 percent to 37 percent in the race for Vice President Biden's old Senate seat.

Six percent of those polled supported another candidate, and 9 percent were undecided. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

Before facing off against Coons, Castle must first fight back a Republican primary challenge from conservative activist Christine O'Donnell.

The Tea Party Express, a group that endorsed O'Donnell in July, launched an extensive media buy in the state last week, which seeks to paint Castle as a liberal in cahoots with Washington Democrats.

Though he trailed badly in all polls leading up to his Election Day victory, Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller benefitted from a similar late advertising push by the Tea Party Express and went on to defeat incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The Tea Party Express says it has committed to a similar six-figure ad buy in Delaware.

If O'Donnell does manage to score an upset in the primary, the Rasmussen survey shows she will enter the general election as an underdog. She trails Coons by 11 points, 36 percent to 47 percent.

The Delaware race remains fluid, in part because many voters there do not seem to have developed strong opinions about the candidates.

According to the Rasmussen poll, 26 percent of likely voters view Castle very favorably, while 10 percent view him very unfavorably.

Coons is viewed very favorably by 13 percent, while 12 percent view him very unfavorably.

Sixteen percent view O'Donnell very favorably, while 24 percent have a very unfavorable view of her. 

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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