Virginia Republicans overwhelmingly want George Allen to be their candidate for the Senate in 2012. 46% say he'd be their pick with the second (and unlikely) choice of Eric Cantor falling all the way back at 18%. 16% would like Ken Cuccinelli and then there's very little support for the remaining options given- 4% for Bill Bolling and Tom Davis and only 2% for Bob Marshall.
The desire for Allen to be the nominee spans the ideological divisions of Virginia Republicans. Conservatives want him by a 47-18 margin over Cantor and moderates do as well by a 43-20 spread. Allen performed the best of the Republicans tested against Jim Webb and Tim Kaine in polling we released yesterday so this appears to be one case where the candidate the GOP base wants the most is also their most electable possibility.
The preferences of Republican voters when it comes to their 2012 nominee for President, as they are everywhere, are pretty jumbled up. Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich lead the pack with 21% and 20% respectively with Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney only a little further back at 17% and 15% each. Ron Paul leads the second tier of candidates with 7%, followed by Tim Pawlenty at 5%, Mitch Daniels at 3%, and John Thune at 2%.
The top tier of GOP hopefuls are pretty well liked across the board by the party base. Huckabee is the most popular with a net +54 favorability rating (72/18), followed by Palin at +46 (70/24), Gingrich at +44 (64/20) and Romney at +41 (63/22).
Huckabee's strength is with female voters with whom he breaks away from the field at least a little bit at 24% with Gingrich at 20%, Romney at 16%, and Palin at 15%. That gives him the small overall advantage despite trailing Gingrich with men. There is some ideological division in the Virginia numbers- Gingrich leads Huckabee by a point with conservatives but Huckabee is up 6 points on him with moderates, giving him the overall lead
It's too tight in Virginia to take a lot away from these numbers but they do provide continuing evidence that Romney is the weakest of the candidates in the South outside of Florida, although not by a huge margin, and that Gingrich and Huckabee splitting support in the region could end up keeping either of them from winning the nomination.
Full results here