Mike Castle's decision to run for the Senate put into play a seat Democrats might not have expected to have to defend next year but early polling indicates it may have at least one plus for the party: they're likely to take back Castle's House seat.
Former Lieutenant Governor John Carney leads announced Republican candidate Fred Cullis by an overwhelming 47-24 margin and holds a solid 44-32 lead against better known potential Republican candidate Charlie Copeland.
None of the candidates, including Carney, are particularly well known. Despite his campaign for Governor last year and tenure in statewide office 54% of voters have no opinion about Carney. Among those who do 27% view him favorably and 18% unfavorably. Copeland is a blank slate to 66% of voters and Cullis is to 87%.
Delving further into the numbers you get an idea of just how unique Castle's appeal is as a Republican in Delaware. For instance while he led Beau Biden 52-23 with independents on this poll Carney leads Copeland 35-26 and Cullis 36-20 with them, an indication of their overall Democratic lean. Only 24% of Delaware voters have a favorable opinion of Congressional Republicans with 57% seeing them negatively so it's unlikely the state will add to those ranks unless it's someone with a very well established track record and popularity like Castle.
In what's shaping up as a tough year for Democrats nationally, the Delaware House seat is as close to a sure thing as they have when it comes to pick up opportunities.
Full results here