Significant leads for Democrats in latest Delaware poll

A new  survey conducted by the University of Delaware shows a significant Democratic lead in the state’s gubernatorial and congressional races.

U.S. Congressman John Carney, D-Delaware, has a 32 percentage point lead in the race for governor, while Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester has a 20 percentage point lead in the congressional race.

The survey also shows Hillary Clinton leading with 20 percentage points in the presidential race.

“Historically, Delaware has been a blue state, it’s typically Democrat, so these aren’t shocking results. But the size of the edge for the Democrat in each is pretty substantial,” said Professor Paul Brewer, the research director for the university’s Center for Political Communication.

The National Agenda Opinion Project research was funded by the CPC and the William P. Frank Foundation. The results were based on telephone interviews conducted with 900 registered voters last month.

The university started conducting political surveys about three years ago to meet a need, Brewer said.

“There’s not a lot of polling done in Delaware,” he said. “We’re really trying to fill that void and provide some high-quality polling information about both key campaigns in Delaware, and also where Delawareans stand on key issues.”

In the upcoming days the university will release more detailed survey results about voters’ opinions on key issues. The university also is hosting debates for both races Oct. 19.

The recent survey shows Carney leading Republican State Sen. Colin Bonini by 57 to 25 percent in the race for Governor. Blunt Rochester leads Republican Hans Reigle by 46 to 26 percent in the congressional race.

Results also were broken down by age, race, gender, education, party affiliation and county.

Blunt Rochester leads Reigle by only 5 percentage points among white respondents, but leads by 69 points among African American respondents. While she leads Reigle by 31 points in New Castle County, the margin is smaller in Kent and Sussex counties, with 5 and 4 percentage points respectively.

“It’s nice to see our message is resonating with voters in each county, but our goal is to reach as many voters as possible between now and November 8th,” Blunt Rochester said in an email statemetn. “I’m going to keep talking about the change we need in Washington as well as the fact that we must do more to expand opportunity for everyone.” 

Carney reached voters across the board—even 26 percent of Republicans surveyed said they’d vote for him. The results are significant, as only 8 percent of Republicans said they’d vote for Clinton and only 13 percent of Republicans said they’d vote for Blunt Rochester.

“Carney is such a well-known candidate—you can kind of think of him as an incumbent, even though he’s not technically an incumbent governor,” Brewer said. “He’s won so many elections, so he’s very familiar to Delawareans.”

Carney’s campaign manager Cerron Cade said the congressman is pleased about the results.

“As a strong believer in bipartisanship, he’s glad to see that his message is resounding with Democrats and Republicans alike,” Cade said in an email. “That being said, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and he looks forward to continuing his campaign this fall. He’ll be working hard to show Delawareans why he deserves their vote come November.”

Following the results Bonini released a statement: “Obviously, it’s an uphill battle as a Republican in Delaware, but quite frankly, we have not even started the bulk of the outreach portion of our campaign, so any polling at this point is premature.”

He said he also questions the accuracy of political polls.

“Additionally, polling in Delaware this year has been highly suspect,” Bonini stated. “The media published a poll that predicted my primary election would be close with my opponent within seven points. I won that election by 40 points, so forgive me if I’m skeptical of this year’s polling.”

Brewer said it’s unlikely the Republicans can catch up with such large percentage point margins. Only 11 percent of survey participants said they were undecided on the gubernatorial race, and only 18 percent were undecided on the congressional race.

“Each of them need a major shakeup in the race,” Brewer said. “They’ve got a lot of ground to make up and a fairly limited amount of time to do it.”

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