VA-Sen: PPP Shows a Dead Heat Between Tim Kaine and George Allen

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (2/24-27, Virginia voters, 11/10-13/2010 in parens):

Tim Kaine (D): 47 (50)

George Allen (R): 47 (44)

Undecided: 6 (6)

Tim Kaine (D): 49

Bob Marshall (R): 35

Undecided: 16

Tim Kaine (D): 49

Jamie Radtke (R): 33

Undecided: 17

Tom Perriello (D): 41 (42)

George Allen (R): 48 (47)

Undecided: 11 (12)

Tom Perriello (D): 39

Bob Marshall (R): 35

Undecided: 26

Tom Perriello (D): 40

Jamie Radtke (R): 32

Undecided: 28

Rick Boucher (D): 42

George Allen (R): 47

Undecided: 11

Rick Boucher (D): 40

Bob Marshall (R): 32

Undecided: 28

Rick Boucher (D): 40

Jamie Radtke (R): 29

Undecided: 31

(MoE: ±3.5%)

What I like about these numbers – and it’s something Tom acknowledges as well – is that George Allen does no better again Tom Perriello (who is unknown to 57% of the state) than he does against Tim Kaine. And who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky and Allen will get teabagged to death by the likes of loonocrat Bob Marshall. Tom also teases that his presidential results show good things for Barack Obama, so yeah – I like these numbers.

83 thoughts on “VA-Sen: PPP Shows a Dead Heat Between Tim Kaine and George Allen”

  1. It’s not good to see him leading, of course, but this numbers certainly suggest a ceiling for Allen.

  2. I continue to think what other posters wrote about this race in another thread – this race will go the way of the presidency in Virginia, and right now that bodes well for the Dems.

    Plus, I think this even overrates Allen’s strength, once the campaign gets started. I’ve never been impressed by him, and I think he’ll wilt in the spotlight just like he did in 2006.  

  3. Especially in comparison to their November poll. Kaine favorables have gone from 43-40 to 46-38 yet his 50-44 lead has turned into a 47-47 tie. This despite an electorate that has changed from D+1 to D+5, is less white and where Obama lead both Romney and Huckabee by 5.

  4. Has Allen broken from the GOP on any issue and taken a position antithetical to conservative doctrine?

  5. We could go back and forth for a long time about how Perriello’s numbers might improve based on this or that or how Independents might split their vote. But I think it’s safe to say that both parties will probably secure their bases pretty well. Against Allen, Kaine receives 86 percent of Democrats while Allen receives 87 percent of Republicans. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. The D/R/I breakdown is 39/34/27 in this poll, very similar to 39/33/27 it was in 2008. With 86 percent of Democrats, Kaine receives 46.9 percent of the vote. With 87 percent of Democrats, that number increases to 47.38. That’s almost a half a point better.

    In 2008, both Obama and McCain received 92 percent of their party’s votes, while in 2006, Webb received slightly less of the Democratic vote, 92 percent, than the 93 percent of the Republican vote Allen received. Would it honestly surprise anyone to see Kaine or any other Democrat outpace Allen amongst Democrats simply because a lot of them will be black voters showing up for Obama and will be voting against Allen? Against a lot of other Republicans, this might not be true, but Allen’s clearly a special case.

    If Kaine managed to receive 95 percent of Democrats and Allen only 93 percent of Republicans, he’d have 50.5 percent of the vote.

    Of course, none of this means anything is guaranteed for Kaine or for any other Democrat. But again, slightly outpacing the Republican in an electorate that’s heavily Democratic doesn’t seem unreasonable, especially if the candidate is George Allen. Against a Teabagger, it probably doesn’t matter, because someone like Kaine would easily win.

  6. Just given the demographics of Virginia, this was always going to be close.  I think these numbers are actually decent-to-good for Democrats.  That the Republicans are already striking at Time Kaine (who isn’t even formally in the race) says something.  I can see this turning out much like the Allen’s race with Webb, which was also ridiculously close.

  7. Kaine is the preferred candidate, but I think it’s a good sign that defeated Congressman with low statewide name recognition are breaking 40% at this stage, those are clear solid numbers to build upon.

  8. Much has been made about how difficult it will be for Allen with presidential turnout. If it is anything like 2008 then the Democratic nominee can afford to do considerably worse than Jim Webb within each subset. If they do the same a 50-49 Allen defeat becomes a 55-45 Allen defeat. He experienced this to a point when he barely beat the damaged Chuck Robb in 2000. And the state is far different today.

  9. Obama job approval 48-45, leads Romney 48-42, Huckabee 51-43, Gingrich 51-39 and Palin 54-35. Impossible for a Republican to win without Virginia. Impossible for Allen to win too IMO.

  10. The ground game for Democrats in Nevada is otherworldly. Do Republicans in Virginia have that kind of infrastructural in Virginia? My gut tells me no.

  11. Tom Periello is as crazy as Sharron Angle. And disgraced Ex-Gov Allen is clearly just as good at bringing home the federal bacon as Majority Leader Reid, which’ll allow him to get a whole bunch of cross-endorsements. And Allen will no doubt run the best Senate field campaign of the decade, turning out a bunch of non-English speaking voters that public polls have missed.

    Now, do I think that Allen’s ceiling is 46? No, frankly, I really don’t believe in the idea of ceilings, especially this early in the campaign. But to compare the two races is laughable.  

  12. I can’t believe this has to be typed on a blog where most people are pretty savvy, but Reid’s “ceiling” changed because the Republicans nominated Sharron Angle.

    Allen’s not going to get someone like that to run against.

  13. But that may also be part of the problem for him. He was seen as a “go along to get along” George Bush style of GOPer, so he may not be seen as radical enough by the teabaggers.

  14. he starts off that clip by saying “We’re going to run this campaign on positive, constructive ideas”.  

  15. The “macaca” video just opened the door for people to come forward revealing far more damning stuff, and that stuff is being 100% ignored by the political media now.  The left needs to get the full story back into the forefront.  Maybe it’s too soon in the cycle to do so, as timing matters in campaigns and elections, but at some point the political media need to be reminded of everything in Allen’s adult racist life.

  16. Don’t waste your time on party crosstabs. Party ID is merely another opinion. Race, gender, and age are the interesting ones. And Kaine needs to improve just a little bit with white voters (and non-black minorities–shouldn’t be an issue against Allen) to win.  

  17. no official party registration in VA. So, there is no way to compare the information in the poll to reality.  The only estimates come from exit polls, which aren’t that reliable.

  18. …we don’t have party-based voting registration.

    Strictly speaking, I’m not a “Democrat” because there’s no legal document that says I am.  Nor are there any Republicans or anything else…just registered voters.

    I can see where that can affect what people say in a telephone survey.  I can imagine that if you’re a conservative white registered Democrat in a state with party-based voter registration, you might say “Democrat” even though you seldom vote for Democrats except for local and some state offices.  But in Virginia, the same voter might change what he calls himself from one election to the next.

    On the other hand, my door-knocking around here, and I’m talkin’ hyper-educated McLean where people should know better, has revealed people who tell me they’re registered as Democrats when I ask their party ID, and they’re choosing words carefully and not loosely…I don’t challenge them because that’s pointless and counterproductive, even though they are factually incorrect.

  19. call yourself a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, or just about anything else, depending on your mood. But you’re pretty much never going to wake up one morning and decide that you’re black instead of white, a man instead of a woman, or 60 instead of 25. There is some subtlety even there, but not of enough significance to screw up a poll.  

  20. Picking apart the turnout model and crosstabs and toplines is entertaining, but at this early stage of very limited usefulness, as the variations are all just statistical noise.

  21. People get over stuff as time goes on, or at least, it bothers them a lot less. If Kaine were to reveal that he had an affair while being a coke addict now, it’d matter a lot less than if it were to be revealed three months before the election. Allen’s past is fair game, so if you’re a Democrat, you want it have maximum effectiveness. Making a big deal about it now would only lessen that.

    Now, you make a good point in that there’s a lot of stuff to discuss, some of which might be relatively new to a lot of people. With that in mind, think of how high these numbers might be. Are upper income, well educated swing voters going to be comfortable voting for Allen in light of such a history? Will blacks, if not other minorities, feel even more motivated to pull the lever for Obama and the Democratic senate candidate? I know I say this a lot, but it’s true: there might not be nearly as many unmobilized black voters as there were before 2008, but there are still a lot of them. Even if the remaining ones voted, as a group, 51 to 49 for Obama and the Democratic senate candidate, it’d greatly benefit our side. Except it won’t that close. It’ll be more like 90 to 10 percent, perhaps even 95 to five percent. There is a fairly big, if not massive, pool of voters that the Republicans won’t have access to. A huge plus like that almost makes me want to think this race is verging on Safe D.  

  22. It seems like every slightest departure from hard right orthodoxy causes someone here to suggest a possible teabagging primary against an establishment GOP candidate or elected official.

    But I would suggest we dial that back a notch.  It’s understandable after we were all shocked by the likes of Murkowski and Castle going down against people who by a fair judgment can be argued to be complete losers in life as much as politically.  But a lot of establishment Republicans won, and this teabagging strength in primaries won’t last forever.  As a rule, someone like George Allen is not going to lose a primary unless there is a single strong challenger with something sparking wingnut anger against Allen.  Yes this cycle could surprise us all over again, but I wouldn’t count on it.

  23. that pretty much any time someone thought about it last year, there was a successful primary. The Republican base is dead serious about purifying its elected ranks if it can.  

  24. Because I think it’s actually possible at (almost) every turn. Sure, only some will be “successful” in the sense that the teabagger actually wins. But even losers can do damage, drain resources, and generally make the eventual establishment victor look less appealing in the general election.

    Yeah, Macaca isn’t likely to lose, but Marshall can definitely make life difficult for him, and get him on record as saying stuff that will hurt him with the likes of moderate NoVa voters in November 2012.

    Anyhow, we should be rooting for this continued purge. It harms the GOP and makes their party less electable in both the short term and long term. As for wanting sane Republicans in Congress… well, the GOP long ago took leave of its sanity, and anyhow, the party’s leaders are hostile to everything we do. The occasional semi-sane Republican backbencher isn’t going to change a thing. (Not that I necessarily think you disagree with any of this, but this is a reason why I always like to explore the possibility of teabag challenges.)

  25. I think the only way “regular Republicans” (I use that term for a reason) restore control of their party is to find people like Joe Walsh, with their abilities to put down the Joe McCarthys of the Tea Party movement.

    In fact, regular Republicans won’t regain control of their party until either

    1) their Presidential candidate starts attacking the “Tea Party” movement

    2) a sufficient number of regular Republicans start attacking potential or actual candidates supported by the “Tea Party” movement

  26. it seems Allen is weaker than normal Republicans with wealthier, educated conservative voters, at least in Fairfax County.  Allen lost Great Falls and Oakton to Webb, but they went for McCain in 2008 even though McCain’s loss margin was bigger.

  27. The DC burbs just aren’t going to vote for a racist (and that’s his brand, like it or not). One neutralizing factor there may be that Kaine is not pro choice. And people care about that sort of thing when it comes to voting for Senate. Basically, Allen would have to run up monster margins in the 9th district. And I’m not sure I see it.  

  28. There’s a very large Asian minority in McLean, particularly East Asians historically but a growing South Asian population nowadays, too.  My wife grew up in Reston and Great Falls and says that was always the case in northern Fairfax County even when she was a little girl in the 70s.  And she says that racism was very much frowned upon in this pocket of NoVA.  So the revelations about Allen are a real problem for him here.  My precinct and surrounding ones are localities where I suspect the Democratic Senate nominee might outperform Obama, as a lot of the affluent voters who dominate my neck of the woods are scared of Obama’s effect on their pocketbook while also repulsed by Allen’s racism and other cultural backwardness.

  29. more than it hurts. After all, Kaine doesn’t pull Bob Dornan/Rick Santorum-style antics and carry around pictures of fetuses, does he?  

  30. I’m not sure how much abortion would hurt him if he promised to vote for all of Pres. Obama’s judicial nominees, which he is guaranteed to do.  Also, according to Wikipedia, he supports Roe v. Wade.  I think that might be enough for voters to hold their nose.  They won’t vote for Allen, but I guess they could stay home.

  31. OTOH, it wasn’t that long ago that NoVa sent Stan Parris to Congress. Parris earned a spot in the Racism Hall of Fame with this gem:

    The 14th Street Bridge is the longest bridge in the world; it stretches between Virginia and Africa.

  32. about making sure their candidates are pure than ever. They are after Dick Lugar, nobody’s idea of a liberal. Hell, they are even after John Barrasso and Roger Wicker, if Eric Erickson is any indication of the typical Teabagger.

    Besides, they seem to be more strategic about it, realizing that a divided primary can hurt their candidates. And wasn’t that a big reason some of their preferred candidates lost last year?

  33. wealthy white suburban women. If Kaine doesn’t give them a choice, they might just opt for lower taxes with Allen. No, it’s not rational (Republican controlled Senate = bad news for women’s health issues), but it’s conceivable.  

  34. Honestly, at worst Kaine is a centrist on the abortion issue, and even that probably overstates his hostility towards it (he’s personally opposed to abortion but supports Roe v. Wade). Allen absolutely does not support abortion rights, period, the same is not true of Kaine. How exactly is there no choice between Allen and Kaine on choice when the fundamental question of the legality of abortion differs quite radically between the two (and given that, with your scenario, those women would be voting their tax rate even if Kaine’s position was more to the left on abortion).

  35. If Republicans manage to restrain themselves from shutting down the government, I think there’s likely to be more ticket splitting in such places. Not much, but perhaps enough to be a problem.

    I think it’s instructive that Allen didn’t win by much in 2000. Virginia is a different place today. And even then he lost Fairfax.  

  36. It’ll be interesting to compare their areas of strength, especially since the state has changed so much and since it’s become much friendlier to Democrats, both naturally and because of the investments made by the Obama team in 2008.

    As far as social issues and economic issues, I think Kaine has more outs than Allen. He can claim to be a social moderate (personally opposed to abortion but will not work to overturn Roe v. Wade and will support judicial nominees) and to be a pro-business pragmatist, or something else that sounds wishy washy enough to appeal to different groups. In particular, he could claim the mantle of tax reform. I’m starting to think this will be one of the bigger issues of 2012. If there’s no sort of agreement between now and then, it’ll be fertile ground for all sorts of Democrats, particularly ones trying to get rack up totals in upper income areas.  

  37. I already said that I don’t think it would make any sense. As for whether it would actually happen, well, I’m speculating just like everyone else.  

  38. I think that’s my only point, it’s so hard to imagine voters like the ones you speculate about really existing. Allen’s position on abortion simply doesn’t leave any room for anything other than criminalizing abortion, Kaine’s doesn’t (and more to the point, Allen can’t possibly try to pretend that Kaine is horrible on abortion without risking losing anti-abortion, poorer voters like the ones in western Virginia).

  39. Yes, completely illogical, given R positions on choice, and how that pushed suburban voters blue in ’06 and ’08.

    But yet, it happened. Such voters existed and turned red in ’10.

    So I believe there is nothing weird about user andgarden’s speculation.

    I think what happened was pushed in part by economic circumstances; a feeling of “I don’t know what we can do about the economy” can lead irrational decisions.

    Understanding the reasons behind such decisions is the first step in understanding whether it can happen again in ’12.

    If the economy improves for ’12, I do not see such decisions continuing — unless the Tea Party types are actually able to point to their own actions leading to lower deficits without increased taxes.

  40. The impact of a teabag challenge should be part and parcel to every non-lunatic Republican making a race.

    Frankly I’m stunned at the suggestion.  The Republicans being so self-cannabilizing combined with the idea of “hey, I can run for office too” that seems to be infecting the most blowhardy Republican far-right activists is not something that shows any sign of going away, and is a cancerous problem facing the GOP.  It is the single most important phenomenon of modern day politics (ignoring specific issues like we do here).

    Once Richard Lugar got a credible challenger, it signaled that for sure now that the internal politics of the two parties will go forward in drastically different ways.  (Democrats still have few primaries, are almost obsessed with the idea of it is his/her turn, and so on.)

    Obviously some dudes are just that and no threat to anyone, but sometimes they are, and one of the most important things to look at in every race, especially in swing states, is how much energy, resources and rancor the Republicans will spend in a race.

    Put another way, there are going to be a lot of GOP primaries in 2012 that won’t be “nice” in any sense, starting with the Prez race.  The impact of this is unknown now, but its importance can’t be overstated.

  41. No question about that.  We held 3 Senate seats last year and got Murkowski to create a little space from the GOP base and help us with a few late-December votes, all because of teabagger victories.

    I’m just saying some seem to be almost expecting strong teabagger challenges at every turn, and I’m cautioning against getting too excited about that prospect.

  42. It’s not exactly a secret that Republicans have a problem when it comes to winning the support amongst black voters. Some, of course, do better than others in certain races, which can dramatically undercut the overall support Democrats get. I think it’s safe to say that Allen will probably do as poorly, if not worse, than he did last time. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see him motivate even more black voters to the polls–along with the Obama campaign, of course–so that their share of the electorate goes up.

    To illustrate how powerful this effect is, figure that the breakdown from last time was 70 percent white, 20 percent black, five percent Hispanic, and five percent Asian and other. If Obama’s share of the vote stayed the same (39 percent white, 65 percent Hispanic, and we’ll assume 65 percent for the rest) but changed to 95 percent of blacks instead of 95 percent, he’d get 52.8 percent of the vote compared to 52.4 percent.* But let’s assume that he gets 95 percent of the black vote, which goes up to 21 percent of the electorate. That give him 53.36 percent of the vote. It’s a small percentage, of course, but it’s representative of votes that most Republicans, particularly Allen, won’t have access to.

    *He clearly got enough votes last time so that CNN could round up to 53 percent, but it’s not clear where they came from. For the purposes of this example, I just let the numbers be.

  43. We did poorly everywhere (except for the west coast, of course) and we dropped among all groups, that’s what a wave election is.

    Even if I buy into your premise, it means that Kaine’s own position on abortion isn’t relevant to whether or not they’ll vote for him and will apply to other groups as well over other issues they supposedly have with Republicans.

    In NoVA if they’re voting for Obama, they’re voting for Kaine, and if Obama’s winning Virginia, Kaine is winning Virginia over Allen (Allen has no cross-over appeal, that’s his basic problem, and any weird sense of “divided government” that seems to pop up will be overwhelmed by the fact that Allen is an offensive individual).

  44. I think Romney could win w/o Virginia, given he puts Nevada and New Hampshire into play, but, yeah, Obama looks good here. If, however, Daniels wins the nomination, Obama at 48% approval might be shaky here.

  45. I also think people who are counting on the tea party challengers like Christie O’Connell and Joe Miller rising to the top next year might be too excited about the possibility. The tea party challenges largely were the result of a very unhappy Republican electorate. But as the economy improves, theoretically, Republican happiness goes up along with everyone else’s happiness. So we might see less action on this front than people expect.

    Not to say we shouldn’t root for it (I’m a little more ambivalent on that point than David but I see what he’s saying), or that we shouldn’t take it into account. Also, I’d hasten to add that I have been suprised about how quickly the challenge to Lugar came together, although I think there’s some argument about whether Muordock is a tea party candidate or just seriously conservative (I’d define the difference as whether the candidate can be perceived to be crazy, like Angle, O’Donnell or Miller)

  46. But for one thing I have a hard time seeing Allen win 14% of African Americans with Obama on the ballot.

  47. This is the thing though, I know Romney has some roots in MI and the economy is bad there but if Obama has an approval rating that allows him to win VA I don’t see much possibility of him losing there and certainly not in NV and CO. Probably not even NH.

  48. Has VA gone Dem and MI gone GOP in any recent presidential election?  Just thinking through my head I don’t know what circumstances that would have happened under…and more importantly, what circumstances in 2012 could make it happen.

    Then again, I tend to think Romney Michigan appeal is beyond over-rated.  But I’m sure if he’s the nominee we’ll see Romney out hunting or doing some other pandering activity in rural Michigan.

  49. I meant in referrence to 2012 when i said I couldn’t think of circumstances leading to VA going Dem and MI going GOP< probably should have clarified.

    I do however thing the red-to-purpling-to-blue of VA is going to happen faster than the blue-to-purpling-to-red of MI.  The Federal govt (i.e northern VA) is growing faster than the American auto industry (MI) is shrinking.

  50. Both are pushing VA bluer

    I don’t think there’s a lot of non-white immigration into MI, and I think MI is the one state that lost population this past decade — and if that’s younger adults, that’s a D outflow.

  51. that’s just positing something that doesn’t exist.  Certainly none of Digests suggest that at all.

    Partly sarcastic, but when you say “But as the economy improves…”  I think you haven’t gotten the memo that we are in deep shit for a decade.

    There is zero chance tea party anger/motivation gets less than 2010.  The economy is in ruins, taxes ain’t going lower, etc etc.  

  52. Michigan has been very hard track, demographically.  The Census estimates and American Community Survey results have been all over the place.  The aggregate ACS results (I think they go from 2007-2009) show a very slight decease in the African American population (and percentage) for the first time ever.  Yet, the 2009 ACS on its own shows just the opposite, a slight increase in the African American population.  Not only that, but I believe that both the aggregate and the 2009 survey show increases in hispanic and asian population just like everywhere else.

    The only thing that seems is not up for debate is that Michigan’s foreign-born population is up considerably from the last Census.

  53. But that assumes that the state stays on its current path, no? If it can begin to reverse its downward trend once the economy is stronger, it’ll probably attract more immigrants than it does now. For better or worse, some areas of the state are dirt cheap to live in.

    Plus, if it’s anything like most, if not all other states, and has non-whites reproducing at much faster rates than whites, I’m not sure it becomes any whiter.  

  54. Obama won all the precincts in my area, but compared to Kerry 4 years earlier, he either didn’t outperform him or outperformed him only slightly in the more affluent areas in McLean and nearby.  Keep in mind Obama did 8 points better than Kerry statewide, and McCain 8 points worse than Dubya, so Obama performing the same as Kerry or only slightly better in a given precinct represents “underperformance.”

    Obama is a liberal.  He wants to do things that make rich people pay more.  And rich people don’t want to do that.  Northern Fairfax County has a lot of rich people, and particularly rich folk who have always been anti-tax, which is the “in” Republicans have with them, when an “in” exists.

    Making things dicier here for Democrats is the high cost of living in the inner D.C. suburbs.  A $130,000 salary doesn’t go nearly as far here as it does in most of the country, and that means what’s genuinely “rich” in most places might not be “rich” here.  So that exacerbates sensistivity to taxes.

  55. There is fuzziness on where Kaine stands on abortion, and it’s a testament to his political skills that he got elected L.G. and then Governor over successive cycles and remained reasonably popular the whole time without ever departing from such ambiguity that even savvy campaign junkies argue over his position.

    But the fact is, Virginia Democrats don’t challenge Kaine on abortion.  Every VA Dem voter either doesn’t care about abortion or thinks Kaine is with him/her on the issue or thinks Kaine won’t do anything to piss off pro-choicers.  He’s at worst the same as Bob Casey and Harry Reid, both of whom keep their mouths shut on abortion and toe the mainstream Democratic line in their votes.

  56. …that are the most affluent, indeed among the most affluent in the country not just the state.

    I live in the same precinct as Colin Powell.  Senator Robert Byrd’s local house (obviously he voted in WV) was in my neighborhood, I drove by it on my commute both ways every day.  That rich Republican financier, Fred Malek, who was part of McCain’s circle of personal advisers and became close to Palin last cycle, lives in my precinct.  One of my neighbors right across the street is one of the top megalobbyists in D.C. who got his start as Gerald Cassidy’s partner.  And it goes on like this.  But more significantly, there are a lot of families like mine, raising kids on 6-figure salaries that would make us rich almost anywhere else but much more modestly comfortable here.  There are plenty of people here like me, who are liberal Democrats as a matter of principle and see our tax dollars going to good use for society with a return in the form of better quality of life for all of us, but on the margins you start losing people when they start worrying about their own wants and dreams being deferred because of higher taxes, or the fear thereof.

    County-wide Obama won 60-39, compared to Kerry’s 53-45.  But in McLean and Great Falls, that gap was much smaller.

  57. that abortion has been a political mixed blessing for Bob Casey. But the problem isn’t so much him as the legacy of his father, who was very much seen as a fire-breather on the issue.  

Comments are closed.