Delaware Senate Race Splits Conservatives on Strategy as Polling Data Unveiled

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 7, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Delaware Senate Race Splits Conservatives on Strategy as Polling Data Unveiled

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 7
, 2010

Dover, DE ( — New polling data in the Delaware Senate race has conservatives split as to the better strategy. The poll finds pro-abortion Republican Rep. Mike Castle winning a potential matchup against pro-abortion Democratic candidate Chris Coons while pro-life GOP candidate Christine O’Donnell potentially loses to Coons.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of likely voters shows Castle falls just short of 50% for the third month in a row, but he continues to hold a double-digit lead over Coons in that potential matchup.

The poll shows Castle earning 48% of the vote, while Coons gets 37% support. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate, and nine percent (9%) remain undecided.

That’s little changed from early last month, when Castle held a 49% to 37% edge over Coons.

Coons leads O’Donnell, who is challenging Castle for the GOP Senate nomination in a primary next Tuesday, by a 47% to 36% margin. Given that matchup, eight percent (8%) prefer another candidate, while nine percent (9%) are undecided.

Last month, Coons held a similar 46% to 36% lead over O’Donnell after the candidates were virtually tied in July.

The numbers have some conservatives saying that if O’Donnell is projected to lose then Castle is the better candidate to have in the race because he is better than Coons and because it would help pro-life Republicans have a better shot of winning back control of the Senate or at least having better numbers to stop the Democrats’ pro-abortion agenda.

Jim Geraghty promotes that position in a new column today at National Review.

"O’Donnell, if nominated, will have (cough) an uphill climb in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans roughly 329,000 to 179,000," he noted. "Castle has consistently led all polls and his voting history suggests he will vote with conservatives 52 percent of the time or so.

While Castle supports legalized abortion and has pushed to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, Geraghty argues he does vote with pro-life advocates sometimes — including stopping tax funding abortions and against the pro-abortion health care bill.

"He supported an amendment to the health care bill that would ban using taxpayer funds to provide abortion services, an interesting vote for a self-described pro-choice Republican. He voted against the health care bill," Geraghty says.

"A central point of the O’Donnell folks is that Mike Castle is unacceptable because he doesn’t support the repeal of Obamacare. But that’s only half his stated position. Castle thinks trying to repeal Obamacare while Obama is president is a waste of time, but he’s open to the idea if the GOP can regain control of the White House," he explains.

Geraghty also notes that, because the Delaware race is technically a special election, winner in this election will be seated immediately, not in January. That. he says, is a key because Republicans will have to stop the pro-abortion agenda in the Senate after the elections during a lame duck session. That includes potentially filibustering a bill that would allow abortions at military base hospitals.

Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator argues O’Donnell is the candidate pro-life voters should rally behind.

"Mike Castle plays for the other side wearing the Republican jersey. Which is why he wants the ball. This confuses many — as it is designed to do," he said.

He complained that Castle is getting support from "conservatives who are more Republican than conservative."


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