Can Christine O'Donnell Defeat Her Past?

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 13 2010 9:42 AM

Can Christine O'Donnell Defeat Her Past?

The new survey from Public Policy Polling, which has inspired some real fear from Republican strategists and conservative pundits, has Christine O'Donnell surging to a margin-of-error three point lead in Delaware's GOP primary for U.S. Senate. Compare this to the Tea Party Express poll of the race from September 3:

Christine O'Donnell - 47 (+6)
Mike Castle - 44 (+1)

Advertisement

What happened in the past week? Sarah Palin endorsed O'Donnell, yes. But Mike Castle also went on the air with ads ripping O'Donnell on her financial and legal history -- she had student loans for years, and she sued a former employer , the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, over discrimination, a big conservative faux pas. Are the ads not working?

I think what we're seeing here is political perpetual motion. O'Donnell only started getting national attention two weeks ago. Republicans tried to smother that attention by making opinion leaders aware of her problems; they were aided in this by the fact that O'Donnell, before she started to surge, fibbed about how successful her 2008 campaign for U.S. Senate was. (She said she won two of three counties; she lost all three although she nearly won conservative Sussex.)

Why hasn't the attention sunk her? Because the assault was so sudden that I don't think enough conservative voters (we don't know yet -- wait 36 hours!) bought it. They had never seen Mike Castle run a negative ad before, and all of a sudden he was piling on this nice woman they voted for in 2008? She was being maligned on national news and slammed on A-1 of the News Journal? When I was in Delaware , I met conservative voters who supported O'Donnell BECAUSE she was attracting this anger from the "liberal media" out of nowhere.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger's New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.