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Rasmussen: Coons 49%, O'Donnell 40%

12:02 PM, Sep 27, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Rasmussen reports:

It is possible that a write-in campaign by Congressman Mike Castle could hurt Democrat Chris Coons more than Republican Christine O’Donnell in the Delaware campaign for U.S. Senate.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Delaware voters finds Coons with 49% support, while O’Donnell earns 40% of the vote. Castle, a longtime congressman who lost to O’Donnell in the state’s GOP Primary, picks up five percent (5%). Another five percent (5%) remain undecided. To see survey questions, click here.

Polling for write-in campaigns is always challenging, so results should be interpreted with caution. For this survey, Rasmussen Reports asked respondents about a choice between Coons and O’Donnell without mentioning Castle. That is the choice voters will see when they enter the voting booth. However, when response options were offered to survey respondents, Castle’s name was mentioned.

Nate Silver came up with a model that shows that the race would become very competitive if Castle formally announced a write-in bid: 

I  tried to model the three-way race and came up with the following: Mr. Coons with 37 percent of the vote, Mr. Castle with 34 percent, and Ms. O’Donnell with 29 percent.

So, will Castle do it?

During the primary he seemed like the a candidate who--after serving as lieutenant governor, governor, and the state's lone congressman--didn't want to stoop and sell himself to the primary electorate.

Politico captured Castle's campaign style very well: 

Standing on the street corner, Castle took a passive approach to his campaigning. Rather than advance toward voters, the soft-spoken veteran congressman and former governor politely accepted their greetings as they walked up to him in front of a collection of reporters and television cameras.

Still, if his internal polls show he can win, and Castle sees himself as the Joe Lieberman of the GOP, there's a decent chance he'll launch a write-in campaign.

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