Democrat Coons thrashing GOP's O'Donnell for US Senate: poll

Delaware's majority Democrats are a lot more likely to vote in this fall's US Senate race for their party's candidate, New Castle County Executive Christopher Coons, than Republicans are to vote for GOP insurgent Christine O'Donnell, according to this poll of 800 likely voters by Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey.

Coons leads by 17 points, 53-36, despite the out-of-state money O'Donnell has spent on TV ads that tell Delawareans, "I am You!" and on mail ads that portray Coons as a grinning midget clutching dollar bills.

Coons also leads among independent voters not registered with either party. O'Donnell has a 1-point lead (statistical dead heat) in the rural-retiree-government-worker belt of southern and central Delaware. But her weakness among her fellow Republicans is hurting her chances, Farleigh-Dickinson Prof. Dan Cassino tells me.

"She needs to unite her own party. She needs 90%" of Republicans, Cassino said. "But a lot of Republicans aren't supporting her. (Even) among conservative Republicans her support is only 77%. They're more undecided than liberals, which is really unusual."

Cassino added, "For a Republican to win she'd have to win the downstate counties and do well in New Castle County. She's not doing that. She needs to build up her base among conservative and pro-life voters."

Also, Democrat John Carney leads Republican Glenn Urquhart in the race for Delaware's lone House seat. That would be a gain for the national Democrats, since the seat used to be held by Republican Mike Castle, who lost a Senate primary to O'Donnell.

The poll also says Castle would be leading Coons if O'Donnell hadn't retired him.

More on the poll and the races in the Wilmington News-Journal here.