Monday, August 30, 2010

Could Castle be next?

The Tea Party Express, a key part of Sharron Angle and Joe Miller's surprise Senate primary victories, is now setting its sights on the candidacy of Christine O'Donnell. She's the challenger to the right of Mike Castle in Delaware. Here are some reasons why- and why not- she might be able to pull off a similar upset.

The arguments for:

-Lisa Murkowski's poll numbers with Republicans back in January are far superior to where Mike Castle's have ever been in our surveys. When we looked at Alaska in January Murkowski's approval within her party was 77/13. By contrast our Delaware poll this month found Castle's favorability with Republicans at only 60/25. It was 61/23 last December so it appears there's a pretty solid quarter of the electorate ready to vote against him from day 1 that didn't exist with Murkowski.

-The ideological composition of the Delaware and Alaska Republican electorates is actually almost identical. Intuitively you would expect Alaska's to be far more conservative but our last Delaware poll found 58% of Republicans identifying as conservatives and 37% as moderates. Our Alaska 'exit poll,' which we'll release tomorrow, found theirs at 59% conservatives and 37% moderates.

The arguments against:

-Mike Castle has been elected statewide in Delaware 13 times. Lisa Murkowski had been once. It's a lot easier to destroy someone's image with 50%+1 of the primary electorate in a very short period of time when they're relatively new to the scene than it is when they've been in statewide office for 30 years like Castle has.

-Time and money. We haven't seen any public polling out of Delaware on the primary but it seems pretty safe to say Castle's still up by a good amount and with only two weeks to go there's not a lot of time to make that up. And it will probably take a much bigger investment to put a huge dent into Castle when that involves buying up Philadelphia tv time than it did in Alaska where a little money goes a long way.

-The lack of a Sarah Palin endorsement for O'Donnell. Our Alaska 'exit poll' actually found that Palin wasn't as big a factor in Miller's win as she seems to be getting credit for but there's no doubt that would be a big help with at least some portion of the Republican electorate.

I would be surprised to see Castle have much trouble in a couple weeks but we're going to think about polling both Delaware and New Hampshire the weekend before their respective primaries because if there's any lesson we're learning in this odd election year it's not to assume anything.


Anonymous said...

I don't think that Castle will lose because: As a staunch conservative I would've voted for Miller in Alaska because he'll win anyway, but would''t in Delaware because I don't want to hand the election to Coons.

Anonymous said...

Of course your polling suggests that Palin had little impact - because you're just not capable of giving the woman any credit. It's just plain odd? She has galvinized the right and yet everyone seems bent on marginalizing her? Keep trying!

wt said...

To vote for O'Donell, you'd really have to be willing to hand the seat to Coons. That is, you'd consider Castle and Coons of marginal difference so as to make a protest vote for O'Donnell.

To those of you out there who feel this way, let me say that (1) Mike Castle's first vote will be for Mitch McConnell, not Harry Reid (or Schumer or Durbin) for majority leader, (2) that taking VP Biden's seat for the GOP is probably a better protest vote than defeating a GOP moderate; and (3) remember that Reagan said a person who agrees with me 80% of the time is a friend, not a 20% traitor.

Please think carefully before you vote for O'Donnell.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin has won some and lost some this year.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, your recent Alaska poll had Murkowski 47/47 among Republicans, so clearly the primary had quite an effect on her numbers. I'm not sure if there's time for something like that to happen to Castle.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I don't think that Castle will lose because: As a staunch conservative I would've voted for Miller in Alaska because he'll win anyway, but would''t in Delaware because I don't want to hand the election to Coons."

Pragmatism and electability seemingly have little bearing on this year's GOP primary voters' decision matrices.

Anonymous said...

Mike Castle is precisely the type of incumbent that Tea Party activists despise most. Even moderately conservative Reps have always been uncomfortable with him. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if they moved to take him out, regardless of the likely consequences for the seat (and his loss would, I think, absolutely hand the seat to the Dems).

DBL said...

While adhering to a certain orthodoxy seems important, I don't see where the voters weren't pragmatic. Angle, Buck, and Paul were only polling 2-3 points below their competition. It's possible that would erased by the general, since Buck and Paul both are leading. Campbell was outpolling Fiorina. Fiorina now leads in the latest Surveyusa poll. I voted for Campbell, but now I think Fiorina is more electable.

If your numbers are right, Miller is a big outlier in that group. A month ago, 538 had both him and Miller as 100% to win.

I don't think any of these have the divide that a McCain or Boozman (or Castle) loss might have. As you say, Mike Castle has been elected statewide 13 times. If he can't figure out how to win this primary, then it's on him.

Where it might cost the GOP is in the House. There have been districts like NJ-6 where a well financed candidate was beaten by one with nothing in the bank.

Unstable Isotope said...

If you're going to poll Delaware, please also poll the GOP primary for the DE-AL seat. The establishment candidate has a serious threat from Tea Partier Glen Urquhart, according to your own numbers.

Unknown said...

Castle's lead over Coons dropped from 25 to 11 or 12 between May 1 and July 15. Anyone who thinks Castle is a shoo-in is badly mistaken. DE is quite a blue state and Castle v. Coons will be close and O'Donnell v. Coons is an easily retain for the Dems.

Jonny V said...

Vote for O'Donell! She's the only real conservative real American in this race.

wt said...

Johnny V's blog name links to a Penis Enlargment site.

And his urging to vote for Christine O'Donnell, "the only real conservative real American in the race," contrasts substantially with his comment on the Alaska Sen Post:

"Hopefully some of these far right wing candidates that the Tea Party people have nominated for the Republicans will lose and keep the D losses to a min.

This Miller guy in Alasks, Paul in Arkansas, Rubio in Florida, and Angle in Arkansas all need to go down for the future of our country."

In addition to not being factually correct (Angle is in Nevada and Paul is in Kentucky, neither in Arkansas), Johnny V has an agenda that he's pushing in these comments.

Jason said...

Don't buy in to the a vote for Christine O'Donnell will hand a victory to Chris Coons garbage.

That is the tag line of the liberal Republican establishment.

Christine is competitive with Chris Coons and was 2 points ahead in the July 15th Rasmussen poll.

A vote for Christine O'Donnell is a vote to save the republic. A vote for Castle is vote for the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jason, apparently you are that unaware. You probably think PPP has a left wing bias, so we'll just skip talking about them, even though the results here are perfectly normal.

Right wing Rasmussen polled Delaware on August 6 and found Coons 46% (D), O'Donnell 36% (R). And you are telling me O'Donnell has a chance? The poll you reference is an outlier. She also is despised by everyone, has tax liens, and is generally corrupt. (something not found with Sharron Angle, even if she is extremely way out of the main stream).

PPP found Coons 44 (D), and O'Donnell 37% (R). So she is NOT more electable.

Anonymous said...

Murkowski was given her seat by her father which created a tremendous amount of animosity towards her. How could this author forget that?

This is very unusual, extenuating circumstances. I do think that Republicans, smelling blood in the water, will be willing to consider voting for O'Connell.

Unknown said...

Looking at your favorability numbers for Castle and Murkowski, one sees that Castle has a 60% approval rating among Republicans, while Murkowski had a 47% approval rating. Also, among conservatives, Castle had a 46% approval rating while Murkowski had a 36% approval rating. Based on this, I would predict Castle does ~10 points better than Murkowski did, so I'd guess about 60 Castle-40 O'donnell. OTOH, his approval rating among Republicans and conservatives could change once the Tea Party Express starts attacking him.

VegConservative said...

If people really can't stand Castle, then do your best to make sure that he doesn't get any important positions in the Senate. But don't vote for O'Donnell. If you saw the recent interview by a local radio host who had endorsed her in 06 against Carper, then you would see just how shady and unorganized a character she really is, not to mention how bad a candidate she is.

This is her third time looking for a Senate election. That makes her a perenial candidate. People know her. They have already decided they don't like her. This will not soon change, and while I was at one point open to an O'Donnell win, I saw that interview and realized how she is essentially our Alvin Greene.

Delaware is deep blue. Even good candidates, like a Jim DeMint or Joe Miller can't win if they are too conservative to appeal to those who call themselves independents in a state like Delaware.

These are the races we will pick up:
North Dakota
Delaware (only if Castle is the Nominee)

Ones we will probably pick up:

Ones we can Pick up with some luck:
West Virginia

Nevada used to be a sure thing, and the Sharron Angle won the primary. She has been a less than perfect candidate, and her nomination has single handedly made the race competitive.

Under the rosiest of circumstances, the Republicans gain 12 seats. Possible yes. Likely, no. With O'Donnell as the nominee? Impossible.

Castle will be there with us on the important votes, or at least most of them. Moderates tend to like the majority, whoever that is. He is also a safe bet to win against Coons. O'Donnell would cost us the majority, which is definitely within our reach now. WT (while quoting Reagan) put it perfectly: A person who agrees with me 60% of the time (in Castle's case) is a friend, not a 40% enemy.

Arthur Schaper said...

Despite the concerns that hard-core conservatives may have about Mike Castle, he did earn a 56 from the American Conservative Union, which is a lot better than the Democratic challenger Coons, who has earned a score of 17 from the ACU.

Someone who has some conservative leanings is better than none. More importantly, Castle is polling ten points ahead of the sole Democratic challenger, whereas the "Tea Party" Candidate Christine O'Donnell is polling ten points BEHIND Coons. She cannot win the Senate Seat.

Furthermore, even if he electability is not the issue of certain voters, every voter in Delaware needs to take into account the dubious integrity of Christine O'Donnell. It's apparent to me that she has a real truth problem. She cannot keep her political facts straight or maintain her finances properly.

Also, I have no interest in voting for a person who screams gender discrimination in suing a conservative Think Tank. Such behavior is unbecoming of any conservative.

Vote for Mike Castle for US Senate September 14, 2010!

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