Public Policy Polling just released a poll showing conservative activist Christine O'Donnell leading moderate congressman Mike Castle 47 percent to 44 percent in the Delaware GOP Senate primary:
It looks like there’s a real possibility of a major upset in the Delaware Senate primary on Tuesday night, with insurgent conservative Christine O’Donnell leading longtime Congressman and Governor Mike Castle 47-44. That 3 point lead is well within the poll’s margin of error.
If Castle is indeed defeated Tuesday night it will be yet another sign that conservatives have a strangle hold on the Republican Party and moderates may or may not be welcome anymore. Castle has an overwhelming 69-21 lead with moderate voters but they only make up 33% of the likely primary electorate. O’Donnell has a 62-31 lead with conservatives that’s more than enough to propel her to the overall lead.
It’s clear that Castle’s popularity has taken a sharp turn in the wrong direction over the last month. An August PPP poll found his favorability with Delaware Republicans at a 60/25 spread. Now his favorables within the party are negative at 43/47. That’s largely a product of 55% of voters in his party saying they think he’s too liberal compared to 37% who think he’s about right.
GOP voters are pretty sharply divided about O’Donnell as well. 45% have a favorable opinion of her with 41% seeing her unfavorably. Only 50% of primary voters think she’s fit to hold public office but she does much better than Castle on the ideology front- 53% think she’s about right.
PPP, a Democratic firm, finds that the Democrat, Chris Coons, is beating O'Donnell handily but trailing Castle. But they won't release the numbers until "later this week" for some odd reason:
General election Senate numbers we'll release later this week make it clear the biggest beneficiary of this primary becoming so unexpectedly hotly contested is Chris Coons. He would start out with a large advantage over O'Donnell in a general election match up, and is polling closer to Castle than he was when PPP polled Delaware last month.