Two new polls from Delaware indicate (perhaps confirm is the better word) that Christine O’Donnell’s election prospects are grim. A University of Delaware poll shows O’Donnell’s opponent, Chris Coons, with a 19-point lead. Similarly, a poll by Farleigh Dickinson University has Coons up by 17 points.
If these polls even come close to measuring the sentiment of Delaware voters, then Coons, an out-and-out leftist, will waltz into the Senate and begin serving at the beginning of the November lame duck session.
It didn’t have to be that way. Polls showed Mike Castle well ahead of Coons throughout the summer, and the new Fairleigh Dickinson poll has Caste ahead of Coons 50-36 in a hypothetical match-up. But the intervention of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express helped swing the primary to O’Donnell, thus putting Coons in what looks like the driver’s seat.
Perhaps the latest polls are radically off-track. Or maybe O’Donnell can make up vast amounts of ground, as she did in her race against Castle.
I hope so, but doubt it. O’Donnell lost to Joe Biden in 2008 by more than 29 percentage points. Obviously, Coons isn’t Biden and 2010 is a much better year for Republicans than 2008. But it’s still not difficult to believe that, as the polls suggest, O’Donnell may well lose this year by double digits.
The reality is that O’Donnell faces two major obstacles that the passage of two years hasn’t changed. First, she’s still far more conservative than the clear majority of voters in the blue state of Delaware. Second, given her lack of experience and accomplishment, plus legitimate questions about aspects of her past (which do not include the witchcraft business), she’s not a particularly attractive candidate.
JOHN adds: One may or may not take the witchcraft episode seriously–personally, I’m a little iffy about a candidate who reminisces about a “satanic altar” on television–but I think we can all agree that any candidate who has to begin her first campaign ad with the words “I am not a witch” is off-message at best.
PAUL adds: I wouldn’t quarrel with anyone who is “iffy” (great word) about O’Donnell due to the witchcraft business. What I meant to convey is that there are other issues in O’Donnell’s more recent past that strike me as more serious and more legitmate. Ironically, but not surprisingly, the witchcraft business may be dwarfing those issues.
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