Christine O’Donnell, back in the news this month promoting her new book, is no longer welcome at a Tea Party event with Sarah Palin this weekend.
O’Donnell was set to appear with Palin, who endorsed O’Donnell’s 2010 Senate bid, at a rally in Indianola, IA. But officials at Tea Party of America, which is hosting the event, told theWall Street Journal on Monday that they were dropping her. While the group’s president cited scheduling problems as the cause, co-founder Charles Gruschow offered a very different explanation: backlash from local Tea Party activists upset over O’Donnell’s inclusion.
“We decided not to have her speak,” Gruschow said. “We felt it was in the best interest of the movement.”
O’Donnell was a brief cause celebre for Tea Party activists in 2010, who helped her defeat heavily favored Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) in a Senate primary before she was trounced in the general election by Democrat Chris Coons. But the magic seems to have faded after her defeat as her much-hyped book has only sold about 2,000 copies.
Right-wing candidates received more news coverage from mainstream media during the 2010 mid-term election season, according to a recent study.
A Pew Research Center survey found that although the Democratic President Barack Obama topped the list, the next three of the top 10 candidates in the media spotlight were members of the so-called tea party movement.
Directly running behind Obama’s coverage and leading the conservative pack was GOP candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware.
“O’Donnell’s upset over Congressman Mike Castle — as well as her penchant for controversial statements (some of them well in the past) about everything from dabbling in witchcraft to the separation of church and state — has made her a media favorite,” the Pew report said.
Another survey performed by AOL’s Relegence team that compared coverage of liberals and conservatives over the last year in over 30,000 news websites was also as revealing.
Christine O’Donnell may have received enough national recognition to prompt a Saturday Night Live cold open, but two new polls show that the Delaware Republican appears unlikely to be the state’s next U.S. senator.
A University of Delaware poll released Wednesday showed O’Donnell trailing Democrat Chris Coons by 19 points. And a Fairleigh-Dickinson University poll showed Coons up 53 percent to 36 percent.
For all the national buzz that the Palinesque perennial candidate has received, her supporters in her home state are comparatively lukewarm about her bid, according to the Delaware poll. Only one third of O’Donnell supporters said that they would be “very disappointed” if she lost the race, compared to two-thirds of Coons supporters who said the same about the Democratic candidate.
Tea Party darling O’Donnell stunned GOP rival Rep. Mike Castle, a moderate former governor with broad appeal and high name ID in the heavily Democratic state, in the state’s Sept. 14 Republican primary. The Fairleigh-Dickinson poll showed that Castle would be leading a hypothetical matchup with Coons by double digits.
Both polls also showed the Democrat in the race with a substantial advantage among independents, a phenomenon that could affect other Tea Party-affiliated candidates. Only 25 percent of independents nationwide have a positive opinion of the Tea Party movement, according to the latest NBC/WSJ poll. And more than half of independents said they have a negative impression of Sarah Palin, whose endorsement helped to vaunt the little-known O’Donnell to primary victory.
Republicans, who are modest favorites to take over the House from Democrats, still have a chance to do the same in the United States Senate. But their odds have dropped significantly: from a 26 percent chance last week to 15 percent today, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecasting model.
The main reason for the decline is the outcome of Tuesday’s Republican primary in Delaware, in which the insurgent candidate, Christine O’Donnell, defeated Michael N. Castle. Two recent polls, including one completed after the primary, show her trailing her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, by margins of 11 percent and 16 percent.
Although Ms. O’Donnell and Mr. Coons remain relatively unknown to some Delaware voters, and a comeback by Ms. O’Donnell is not impossible, the forecasting model gives it only a 6 percent likelihood of happening — and has established Mr. Coons, therefore, as a 94 percent favorite. Had Republican voters selected Mr. Castle instead, the numbers would be exactly the opposite: Mr. Castle would be the 94 percent favorite to win the seat, leaving Mr. Coons with just a 6 percent chance of an upset.
If Ms. O’Donnell were unable to surprise observers again in Delaware, the Republicans could still earn a majority, 51 Senate seats, in one of two ways: either by sweeping the Democratic-held seats that currently appear to be competitive — while holding all of their own — or by putting one or two additional states into play.
The first path — sweeping the Democratic-held seats — remains the clearer of the two. It is not uncommon for a party to win all or almost all “tossup” seats when they are having a strong election night, as the Democrats did to claim the Senate in 2006. The forecasting model accounts for this tendency, in that it assumes that the results of Senate contests in different states will be correlated to some extent. Continue reading…