Fairleigh Dickinson poll: Coons 53, O’Donnell 36

There are actually two polls out today, one from FDU and the other from the University of Delaware showing Coons up 19, but the latter is a poll of … randomly selected Delaware adults. Why on earth would anyone spend good money to survey a sample as broad as that at this point in the campaign? We’re less than 30 days from the election, boys; from now on, it’s likely voters or bust.

FDU did confine its own poll to likelies, though. The last survey of likely voters in Delaware was by Rasmussen on September 26 and showed Coons up just nine points. Whether his lead is actually expanding or these FDU numbers are simply an outlier will depend, I guess, on what Ras comes up with later this week.

Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell is actually better known to Delaware’s likely voters than Democrat Chris Coons: 93% say they have heard of Coons, while 97% say they have heard of O’Donnell. Nonetheless, according to the most recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, Coons leads O’Donnell 53%-36% in the special election…

Democrats have largely united behind Coons: 85% say that they will vote for their party’s nominee. However, only 68% of Republicans say that they will vote for O’Donnell. Independents lean to Coons by 46% to 37%.

“Typically, Republicans are more loyal to their party than Democrats,” said 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.”

A few things here. On the upbeat side, remember that O’Donnell’s ad campaign is just starting to roll out and that she’s got tons of cash to keep it running. (In fact, FDU’s poll was concluded the day before her “I’m not a witch, I’m you” spot debuted.) The ad barrage and the debate between her and Coons a week from today will be all-important, obviously; if she’s still down by double digits 10 days from now, oh well. On the downbeat side, one thing not mentioned by FDU in its summary but worth flagging in the crosstabs is how much worse O’Donnell’s doing among women than men. Among male likely voters, Coons leads 50/41; among women, it’s 56/32. That’s strikingly similar to CNN’s poll of this race from a few weeks ago, which showed a roughly even split among men but a 29-point lead for Coons among female voters. The tea party’s favorable rating in Delaware is equally skewed: Overall it’s 34/48 but just 40/45 among men versus … 29/51 among women. In fact, the gender gap is much wider vis-a-vis views of the tea party then it is on abortion. In Delaware, 36 percent of both men and women describe themselves as pro-life compared to 51 percent and 56 percent, respectively, who say they’re pro-choice. We already knew that women voters generally tilt towards Democrats but they’re tilting waaaaay over towards Coons’s side in this state. And if that’s because they simply can’t stomach the tea-party paradigm of small government then I’m not sure what O’Donnell can say policy-wise to win them over.

As for the boldfaced stuff in the excerpt, some of those wayward Republicans are bound to come home on election day but the high name recognition for both candidates is worrisome. It’s one thing if blue-state voters are leaning towards the Democrat instinctively because they haven’t looked at the Republican yet, it’s another if they have looked at him/her and are leaning Democrat anyway. Here’s hoping Team O’Donnell’s got some killer ads in the pipe. Call Ladd Ehlinger, guys! Dale Peterson is standing by.

Ed Morrissey Nov 29, 2021 8:25 AM ET