PPP's new Delaware survey finds that longtime Republican Congressman Mike Castle would lead Attorney General Beau Biden 44-36 in a possible 2010 Senate contest.
Each candidate is very popular. Castle has a 54% approval rating from state voters with 33% disapproving of his work. Even a 45% plurality of Democrats approve with 39% disapproving, the first time PPP has ever found a member of Congress getting more positive than negative reviews from voters in the opposite party. Castle's overall approval rating isn't better because 24% of Republicans disapprove of his performance, probably due to his moderate stands on many issues that may not fly with the conservative Republican base.
Biden actually has a slightly better net approval rating than Castle, although more voters are ambivalent toward his job performance. 49% approve of the work he's doing with only 27% expressing disapproval.
Castle is winning the head to head match up because of a 53-20 advantage with independents and because he pulls 22% of the Democratic vote. Biden's core problem at this point is that even though 67% of the voters who have a positive opinion of both him and Castle are Democrats, he has only a 42-40 lead with that group. That's likely a function of voters knowing Castle better after nearly 30 years in statewide office.
The particularly good news for Democrats? There's been no indication from Castle that he's interested in running and given Biden's overall strong marks from Delaware voters there's probably not any other Republican who could be competitive with him.
Full results here.