Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Webb, Kaine lead Allen

Jim Webb appears to be in decent position for reelection, if he doesn't run again Tim Kaine would be an able substitute, and at this early stage George Allen is clearly the strongest potential candidate on the GOP side. Those are the takeaways from PPP's first full scale poll of the 2012 Virginia Senate race.

Webb leads Allen 49-45 in a hypothetical contest, a margin slightly better than what he earned in his upset victory over Allen in 2006. Webb leads Allen 49-44 with independents and wins over slightly more Republicans (9%) than Allen does Democrats (6%). There's been a lot of speculation in recent days about whether Webb might decline to seek a second term. We found that if Kaine was the Democratic nominee instead of Webb he would actually do slightly better, leading Allen 50-44.

Voters are pretty mixed in their feelings about all three in the trio of Webb, Kaine, and Allen. Webb has a 43/37 approval rating, not bad but not stellar either. Kaine's favorability rating is 43/40 and Allen's is 40/41.

Allen looks like he would be a much more formidable opponent at this point than either of Virginia's down ballot statewide office holders, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli trails Webb 49-39 and Kaine 50-39 in possible contests, while Bolling trails Webb 49-38 and Kaine 48-41 in head to heads. For Bolling a large part of the problem is anonymity- 55% of voters in the state say they don't know enough about him to have an opinion positive or negative. For Cuccinelli the problem is more that voters don't like him- 39% have an unfavorable opinion of him while only 31% have a favorable one and independents split against him by a 28/42 margin.

We also looked at Tom Perriello as a possible Webb alternative. He trailed Allen 47-42 and Bolling 42-41 but led Cuccinelli 44-41 in hypothetical matches.

Some other thoughts on the numbers:

-Clearly Allen is not 'unelectable' in the future but he also doesn't have very much appeal to Democrats so he could struggle if Virginia moves away from the Republican friendly electorate it saw in 2009 and 2010- which it almost definitely will move away from with Obama back on the ticket.

-70% name recognition, like Cuccinelli has, is pretty darn high for an Attorney General. The last one we polled on- North Carolina's Roy Cooper- has been in office for 9 years longer and only had 50% name recognition. The negative slant in Cuccinelli's numbers suggests though that he's made himself notorious more than anything else.

Obviously 2012 is a long way off but it looks like Democrats have a good chance at changing the bad direction they've been on in the state over the last couple years and holding onto this Senate seat.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

I'm realy perplexed by these results. Is this the same Virginia that gave Gov. McDonnel a 19 point victory in 2009 and booted out 3 incumbent Dem congressmen (Boucher, Nye and Periello) and nearly retired another (Connoly) in 2010 and all of a sudden Dems are competitive there again? Quitee the head scratcher this.

What is going on here? Are election cycles now becoming a game of musical chairs alternating between Democratic and Repubican electorates, such that results are predetermined by who shows up rather than past voting patterns?

Dudeman said...

Next time, poll for Tom Davis instead of Bolling. It's ridiculous that people voted for that empty suit last year without knowing a thing about him.

wt said...

It will be a big problem for the Dems if an unenthusiastic Webb is convinced to run for re-election, but can't fundraise and doesn't want to muster the energy to stump the state.

Think Fred Thompson times 10. Webb's numbers are great because he's a good fit for Virginia, similar to Mark Warner. But you can't win a race by resting on your laurels. If he wants it, he's going to have to get enthusiastic about it.

Otherwise let Periello go for it.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"What is going on here? Are election cycles now becoming a game of musical chairs alternating between Democratic and Repubican electorates, such that results are predetermined by who shows up rather than past voting patterns?"

It's kind of how it's always been. It's just the prevalence of polling analysis that's brought the focus more on turnout.

wt: You're right about that. And I don't think Webb will run unless he really wants to.

Anonymous said...

LoL of course the repubs/tea baggers are perplexed by these results.

In 2012 45 millions more people will show up in comparaison to 2010 and again Dems will be back on top.

Stephen Monteith said...

One thing that has helped boost Cuccinelli's recognition is the lawsuit he's waging against Obamacare on behalf of Virginia. It's actually separate from the suit being waged by more than 20 other states, since this suit relates specifically to a Virginia law that says the government can't make you buy anything. Needless to say, if the lawsuit is successful, then Cuccinelli could have a much better shot at the Senate; if he chooses to run, that is.

By the way? What on Earth made you include Periello? A one-term congressman who couldn't get reelected with the president's arm draped around him is going to carry the entire state? Why not throw in Creigh Deeds' name, too? He also lost an election on the president's coattails.

I don't believe Bolling will run for the Senate, by the way. I believe he'll run for Governor in 2013. After two terms as Lt. Gov., it's certainly the next step for him. At that point, assuming the state continues to improve under Gov. McDonnell's stewardship, a Gov. Bolling will be most likely; especially if Jim Webb doesn't run for reelection and the commonwealth's "best" Democratic candidate replaces him in the Senate (or goes down in flames against either Allen or Cuccinelli).

Dustin Ingalls said...

"By the way? What on Earth made you include Periello?"

He was suggested by blog readers.

Anonymous said...

I suggested Perriello because the hard core socialists running the Democratic Party love him and view him as a cult hero.

Smooth Jazz said...

Another poll to appease and excite the DailyKOS crowd. It is obvious that many of your polls are designed to push a storyline and get the base ginned up. I'd wait for verification from an unbiased poll before trusting these numbers

NRH said...

PPP was one of the most accurate pollsters of 2010, by Nate Silver's analysis. How rightarded do you have to be to continue accusing them of a Democratic bias? PPP was distinctly to the left of Rasmussen - but Rasmussen was distinctly to the right of the actual results on election day.

Anonymous said...

wait for a reasonable objective poll and i bet the numbers are a lot different - my guess is webb would poll just like obama, down in the low 40's

Anonymous said...

Why include Perriello? Yes, he lost, but in a district that has distinct Republican leanings. That, and the midterm campaign of 2010, made it almost impossible for him to win. BUT, Perriello was praised even by his detractors for his intelligence, his hard-fought campaign, and his principled stands. He has a great future.

Now, as for Bill Bolling, don't count him out. He has made lots of friends in the economic development community, and he has far fewer negatives than Cuccinelli. He just needs some name recognition.

These poll numbers have the ring of accuracy to me. Had turnout been this year what it will undoubtedly be in 2012, the GOP would not have had the year it had. Democrats were bored - Republicans were pumped, and that's what created 2010.

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