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Monmouth University Polling Institute

O’Donnell Cuts Coons’ Edge

Friday, October 29, 2010

Senate margin now 10 points; little change in House race

In the past two weeks, Republican Christine O'Donnell has narrowed Democrat Chris Coons' lead in Delaware's U.S. Senate race from 19 points to 10 points.  The latest Monmouth University Poll  finds Coons has the support of 51% of likely voters to 41% for O'Donnell.  Two weeks ago, this race stood at 57% to 38%.

O'Donnell has actually pulled into a 49% to 43% lead in the southern part of the state (i.e. Kent and Sussex counties).  Two weeks ago, this region of the state was divided at 47% for O'Donnell and 46% for Coons.  The Democrat 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.

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%.

"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.  The interesting thing is that while her vote total has risen, the majority of Delaware voters still say she is unqualified for the post," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

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.  These qualification results for O'Donnell and Coons are basically identical to the Monmouth University Poll results from two weeks ago.

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.

While the Senate election has experienced some movement, there has been little change in the race for Delaware's at-large House seat.  The poll finds Democrat John Carney holding a 51% to 44% lead over Republican Glen Urquhart in the race to fill the vacant House seat.  That marks a slight narrowing of the gap from Carney's 53% to 44% margin two weeks ago.

Delaware voters' personal ratings for the two major party House candidates have remained fairly stable.  Carney has a 46% favorable to 28% unfavorable rating, with 26% offering no opinion.  Urquhart has a 38% favorable to 27% unfavorable rating, with 35% offering no opinion.

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone with 1171 likely voters from October 25 to 27, 2010.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  2.9 percent.

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.     If the election for United States Senator from Delaware were today, would you vote for Christine O’Donnell the Republican, Chris Coons the Democrat, or some other candidate?   [At this moment, do you lean toward Christine O’Donnell or lean toward Chris Coons?]  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

2.     If the election for United States House of Representatives from Delaware were today, would you vote for Glen Urquhart the Republican, John Carney the Democrat, or some other candidate? [At this moment, do you lean toward Glen Urquhart or John Carney?] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

[QUESTIONS 3 AND 4 WERE ROTATED]

3.     Is your general opinion of Christine O’Donnell favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of Christine O’Donnell?  

4.     Is your general opinion of Chris Coons favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of Chris Coons?

[QUESTIONS 5 AND 6 WERE ROTATED]

5.     Is your general opinion of Glen Urquhart favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of Glen Urquhart?

6.     Is your general opinion of John Carney favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of John Carney?

7.     Is your general opinion of Mike Castle favorable, unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of Mike Castle?

[QUESTIONS 8 AND 9 WERE ROTATED]

8.     Is Christine O’Donnell qualified or unqualified to be a United States Senator?

9.     Is Chris Coons qualified or unqualified to be a United States Senator?

10.   Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?

11.   Who would you rather see in control of Congress next year – the Democrats, the Republicans, or does it make no difference?

 

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.  The poll was conducted on October 25-27, 2010 with a random sample of 1,171 likely voters in Delaware.  The sample was drawn from a list of households with voters who cast ballots in at least two of the last four general elections and further screened for those who say they are either “certain” or “likely” to vote in this November’s election.  Interviews were conducted using both automated voice interviewing services provided by Survey USA (n=769) and live interviews provided by Braun Research, Inc. (n=402).  The voter list was obtained from Aristotle, Inc.

For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.  Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample.  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.  

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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- Monmouth University Polling Institute