Polls taken immediately after primaries are always tricky, and perhaps in circumstances as seen in Delaware, even more so. Usually a candidate gets a boost from winning a primary that later smooths out. In this case, Christine O’Donnell’s victory got so much handwringing from Republicans in the immediate aftermath that it could have depressed the support O’Donnell will later get. Rasmussen’s survey taken yesterday of 500 likely Delaware voters shows her trailing Chris Coons, 53/42:
Democrat Chris Coons holds a double-digit lead over Republican hopeful Christine O’Donnell in the first Rasmussen Reports post-primary survey of the U.S. Senate race in Delaware.
Coons earns 53% of the vote to O’Donnell’s 42%, with leaners included. One percent (1%) prefer some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided. …
This marks a remarkable turnaround in a race that at the beginning of the monthwas rated Solid Republican and was on track to be a GOP pickup. At that time, Congressman Mike Castle led Coons as he had been leading all year. O’Donnell trailed Coons at that time 47% to 36%.
The internals of the poll are interesting — and not entirely what one would have expected. With or without leaners, O’Donnell leads among independents by a narrow margin, 50/42 and 50/46, respectively. She loses 17% of Republicans without leaners, and 20% of Republicans with leaners, while Coons loses 10% and 11% of Democrats, respectively. The problem for O’Donnell doesn’t appear to be the middle of the electorate but with liberal Republicans instead, and with the conservative Democrats who earlier showed support for Mike Castle.
On the issues, though, O’Donnell should find some traction. Delaware voters support the repeal of ObamaCare, 53/43, with 41% strongly favoring it. Sixty-two percent say that jobs will get created through tax cuts rather than more government spending — although the new stimulus package from the White House also gets majority support at 52%, too. The biggest problem will probably be Barack Obama’s popularity in Delaware, with a 54% job approval rating.
Assuming that O’Donnell keeps message discipline and makes no mistakes, she has a shot against Coons, although it will be a tough, uphill fight. In a couple of weeks, the polling should stabilize and tell us more.
Update: Wooh, I have to drink more coffee before doing math, obviously. The gap is eleven points, not nine. My apologies.