Delaware: Pro-Life Christine O’Donnell Cuts Lead Amid Personal Attacks

State   Steven Ertelt   Oct 29, 2010   |   1:14PM    Dover, DE

As pro-life Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell weathers the latest personal attack, a new poll shows her cutting the gap between herself and pro-abortion candidate Chris Coons, the Democrat.

A new Monmouth University Poll in Delaware finds O’Donnell, the Republican, has narrowed Coon’s lead from 19 points to 10 points, 51% to 41%. The poll was conducted prior to the publication of a story on O’Donnell’s personal life that created a backlash of sympathy for her.
 
The story, about an alleged one-night stand, has drawn strong condemnation — including from the pro-abortion feminist group NOW.
 
“While Coons still has the advantage, it has to be uncomfortable knowing that O’Donnell was able to shave 9 points off his lead in just two weeks,” pollster Patrick Murray said. “The interesting thing is that while her vote total has risen, the majority of Delaware voters still say she is unqualified for the post.”
 
Whether the story and the last-minute push O’Donnell is making with her campaign’s considerable financial resources can get her to 50 percent will be determined on Tuesday.
 
O’Donnell has actually pulled into a 49% to 43% lead in the southern part of the state (Kent and Sussex counties) whereas, two weeks ago, this region of the state was divided at 47% for O’Donnell and 46% for Coons. However, Coons continues to hold a sizable advantage in New Castle County, but the current 56% to 36% margin is down from the 63% to 33% edge he held earlier this month.
 
The poll finds O’Donnell getting the support of 71 percent of Republicans while 85 percent of Democrats back Coons.
 
O’Donnell has also made gains among independent voters, now leading Coons 47% to 42% among this voting bloc. Two weeks ago, she trailed in the independent vote by 51% to 41%.
 
The poll found that just 35% of likely voters in Delaware feel that Christine O’Donnell is qualified to be a U.S. Senator, while 56% say she is unqualified. That contrasts with their opinion of Chris Coons, who 65% say is qualified for the U.S. Senate to 25% unqualified.

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However, O’Donnell has seen some improvement in voters’ opinion of her personally, while Coons’ rating has dropped. O’Donnell is now viewed favorably by 34% of the electorate and unfavorably by 51%. Two weeks ago, this stood at 31% favorable to 58% unfavorable. Coons has a 45% favorable to 39% unfavorable rating, compared to a 50% favorable to 33% unfavorable rating two weeks ago.
 
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone with 1171 likely voters from October 25 to 27.