There are plenty of establishment Republicans who need to worry about primary challenges from the Tea Party next year but George Allen doesn't appear to be one of them.
67% of Virginia GOP voters say Allen's their top choice to be their Senate candidate next year, compared to only 7% who prefer Bob Marshall, 4% for Jamie Radtke, 3% for David McCormick, and 3% for Corey Stewart.
Those results could be explained to a large extent by Allen's superior name recognition though. What's more telling is that only 25% of Republicans prefer a generic 'more conservative' challenge to Allen, while 52% stick with the former Senator. That's better than most long time GOP politicians are faring against hypothetical foes to the right- before he retired we found Jon Kyl under 50% against a 'more conservative' alternative and Bob Corker actually trails a generic challenger to his right. So for Allen to have a 27 point lead on that measure is significant.
It's not surprising though given how popular Allen is with Virginia Republicans and how comfortable they are with him ideologically. 68% of primary voters have a favorable opinion of him to only 15% with with an unfavorable one. More significant in the context of a possible Tea Party challenge is that 69% of Republicans think he's 'about right' ideologically to only 9% who think he's too liberal and actually an equal 9% who think he's too conservative. There's just not a very strong sense within the GOP base that Allen's too far left.
Radtke's name recognition with Republican primary voters is only 21% so there's some potential for her to gain ground as she becomes better known and the same could be said of Bob Marshall, who currently has only 25% name id, if he decided to get in. But all things considered the specter of a primary challenge to Allen just doesn't look that serious.
As he does throughout most of the South, Mike Huckabee leads the way for President in the state with 20%. Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin tie for second at 16% with Newt Gingrich rounding out the top tier of potential candidates at 14%. Ron Paul leads the second tier with 8%, followed by Mitch Daniels at 7%, and Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty at 4%. This is one of the best performances we've found for Daniels anywhere we've polled, perhaps an indication that the Beltway obsession with him is spilling over a little bit to GOP primary voters in northern Virginia.
Holding Romney back from a stronger position in Virginia is a fourth place finish with voters describing themselves as 'very conservative,' with whom he registers at just 12%. He's a solid second to Huckabee with the other two major GOP ideology groupings of 'somewhat conservative' and 'moderate' voters. Gingrich is actually by a small margin in first place among those furthest right Republicans.
Full results here