Posted: Oct. 31, 2013


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The voters around the country are in a mood to throw the bums out, but here? Not so much.

Delawareans collectively are as attached as ever to Joe Biden and Tom Carper, Democrats they have been voting for since the 1970s, Biden as a senator and vice president and Carper as a state treasurer, congressman, governor and senator.

There is a reason Biden could have a bumper sticker that just said "Joe."

The next political generation with Jack Markell, the two-term Democratic governor, and Beau Biden, the two-term Democratic attorney general who came with a pedigree, also fares well.

Delawareans, however, still have not entirely settled in with Chris Coons as their Democratic senator or John Carney as their Democratic congressman, both only three years into their offices. It can take time.

Official Office Party Favorable Unfavorable Last election
Barack Obama president D 60% 35% 59%
Joe Biden vice president D 65% 28% 59%
Hillary Clinton ex-secretary of state D 65% 28% --
Chris Christie New Jersey governor R 56% 24% --
Tom Carper senator D 61% 19% 66%
Chris Coons senator D 47% 24% 57%
John Carney congressman D 47% 29% 64%
Jack Markell governor D 62% 18% 69%
Beau Biden attorney general D 64% 17% 79%
Christine O'Donnell 2010 Senate candidate R 30% 43% 40%

These political soundings were taken for the Center for Political Communication at the University of Delaware in a poll conducted by Princeton Research Associates International and presented Wednesday evening at a forum on the Newark campus. The pollster interviewed 902 voting-age Delawareans from Sept. 3 to Sept. 16.

Political scientists have seen this show before. No matter what people think about the government, they like the officials they put there.

Nor is there any doubt people are fed up with the federal government. The poll found just 23 percent of Delawareans trust the government in Washington to do what is right "just about always" or "most of the time," while 65 percent say "only some of the time."

The remaining 12 percent are in a class by themselves. Although the poll only asked people whether they trusted the government "just about always" or "most of the time" or "only some of the time," they were so incensed, they went further. Unprompted, they retorted, "Never."

This, when the poll was taken before the government shutdown and before the administration decided to roll out Obamacare on what certainly seemed like dial-up.

With the next election about a year away, pollsters are itching to run the numbers on showcase races, but there was a problem. Delaware has no races yet.

The Republican Party here is so depleted it has not found candidates to run against Coons, Carney or Beau Biden, all of whom are up for re-election in 2014. Biden could even get used to it. He had no Republican opponent in 2010.

Instead, the poll made up a race. It tested what would happen if there was a rematch of the 2010 Senate election between Coons and Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party Republican.

Race Statewide NCC Kent Sussex
Coons/O'Donnell poll 51% - 28% 56% - 22% 41% - 39% 44% - 35%
Coons/O'Donnell 2010 57% - 40% 66% - 31% 45% - 51% 40% - 57%

Coons won again. Furthermore, he carried all three counties, something he did not do in 2010. Back then, he relied on New Castle County, the most populous and most Democratic county, where he was the county executive, and he lost among the more conservative voters downstate in Kent County and Sussex County, especially Sussex.

The university has hopes for more polling. Preferably with real races.