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University of Delaware poll shows strong support for Democrats in the First State

A sign reading "This Way To Vote" is displayed outside the Old Wilson Schoolhouse Community Center in Wilson as Wyoming holds its Republican primary election.
Tom Byrne
Delaware Public
A sign reading "This Way To Vote"

The 2022 midterm election is just over two weeks away and the only significant public poll assessing the state of the top-of-the-ticket races is out this week.

The University of Delaware Center for Political Communication released its survey of voters, highlighting two major statewide races and a host of key issues.

We sat down with UD Professor Phil Jones, Research Director at the Center for Political Communication, to discuss the results and what they tell us.

UD Professor Phil Jones discusses the results of a new University of Delaware public poll assessing the state of the top-of-the-ticket races

A recent University of Delaware Center for Political Communication poll shows Democrats in statewide races hold sizable leads in the upcoming midterms.

The poll of registered voters found Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester grabbing 50% support while her Republican opponent Lee Murphy had 33%.

In the state Attorney General’s race, incumbent Democrat Kathy Jennings leads her Republican opponent Julianne Murray 53% to 40%

The poll indicates those Democratic leads are driven by support from women and New Castle County voters while the GOP’s main support is in Sussex County.

But Center for Political Communication research director Phil Jones cautions this isn’t a doomsday poll for Republicans.

"These are not slam dunk numbers, right. So if all of the undecided voters were to flock to the Republican candidates this would be a 50/50 race. No, I don't think that's likely to happen. Our poll doesn't signal that,” said Jones. “On the other hand with the right candidate you can see a Republican managing to find a way to win statewide."

Delawareans support both vote-by-mail and same day registration with at least 64% of residents in favor of those measures.

The poll also finds continued support for marijuana legalization and Center for Political Communication research director Phil Jones says that may not be an issue this year -- but one 2024 gubernatorial candidates can pounce on.

"Two-thirds of Delawareans say they support the legalization of marijuana. That's without restrictions so not just medical marijuana or for specific cases. This is just legalizing it in full, and so the gubernatorial candidates have an issue here that they can pick up on, right. This is an issue that a big majority of Delawareans support, and is an obvious place to go looking for votes, as you hunt during the primary season," said Jones.

Jones notes Democrats, Republicans, and Independents believe democracy is in danger, albeit probably for different reasons.

According to the poll, 55% of respondents think Democrats would do a better job of handling democracy, while 41% believe Republicans would be better at handling it.

The poll conducted in late September has a 3.3% margin of error.

Delaware Public Media's Election Coverage is supported in part by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and NEH’s special initiative “A More Perfect Union." The “A More Perfect Union” initiative supports projects that explore, reflect on, and tell the stories of our quest for a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society throughout our history.

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Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.