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O'Donnell far behind in two new polls

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.