VA-Sen: First Poll Shows Dems in Decent Shape

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (11/10-13, Virginia voters, no trendlines):

Jim Webb (D-inc): 49

George Allen (R): 45

Undecided: 6

Jim Webb (D-inc): 49

Bill Bolling (R): 38

Undecided: 12

Jim Webb (D-inc): 49

Ken Cuccinelli (R): 39

Undecided: 11

Tim Kaine (D): 50

George Allen (R): 44

Undecided: 6

Tim Kaine (D): 48

Bill Bolling (R): 41

Undecided: 11

Tim Kaine (D): 50

Ken Cuccinelli (R): 40

Undecided: 11

Tom Perriello (D): 42

George Allen (R): 47

Undecided: 12

Tom Perriello (D): 41

Bill Bolling (R): 42

Undecided: 18

Tom Perriello (D): 44

Ken Cuccinelli (R): 41

Undecided: 15

(MoE: ±4.2%)

It’s a new cycle, and so we’re back to polls with zillions of permutations. Our friends over at Public Policy Polling take a look at what’s likely to be one of the more interesting races of the the 2012 campaign, and you can’t really complain if you’re a Dem – especially not after this month’s bloodbath. Of course, PPP is moving back to something closer to a registered voter model, but it’s actually a bit more than that. In an email to us last March, Tom Jensen told us:

We call people who voted in at least one of the last three general elections. We don’t explicitly ask them at this point in the game if they plan to vote in the fall. I imagine 97% of the people who answer the polls will vote this fall but since we’re not explicitly screening yet we don’t call them likely voters.

This sample voted for Obama 49-44. It’s been a long time since PPP’s visited Virginia, but in their final 2009 poll (PDF), they showed a McCain 48-47 electorate (using a likely voter screen). Will there still be (groan) an enthusiasm gap two years hence? It’s way too early to say, but count me among those who thinks the economy has entered a period of perma-suck.

Anyhow, here’s a little rundown of everyone’s favorables:

Allen: 40-41

Bolling: 20-25

Cuccinelli: 31-39

Kaine: 43-40

Perriello: 22-32

Webb, for his part, has a surprisingly decent 43-37 job approval rating. I’m also pretty heartened by Perriello’s toplines given his pretty tough approval scores – though I’m a bit skeptical that a one-term congressman in a fairly large state is actually known to over half of all Virginians. Personally, if Webb doesn’t run, I’d love to see Perriello go for the nod, since the guy is clearly a fighter and would make it a hell of a race.

107 thoughts on “VA-Sen: First Poll Shows Dems in Decent Shape”

  1. I don’t know about the Senate, but this makes me want him to go after his old job again next election; if he can poll ahead of Bolling and Cuccinelli in a federal election, he can beat them at the state level.

  2. If Webb retires, Kaine runs and wins, you’d have a situation where not only are both senate seats held by a former governor, but also held by the former Governor and his Lt. Governor. I wonder how often that happens.

  3. The exit poll, which was off by a point by showing McDonnell up 58-42 when he won 59-41, revealed an electorate that went for McCain 51-43.  This in a state whose actual 2008 electorate went for Obama 53-46.  And still that same 2009 exit poll showed Obama with a 48-51 job approval, only barely underwater; this PPP poll effectively corroborates that with a more friendly sample.

    The 2009 exit poll party ID was 37R-33D-30I, and ideologically it was 42M-40C-18L.

    So yeah, there was quite the enthusiasm gap.

    On a micro level, I studied the precinct-based turnout in HD-34, where I live and where incumbent Dem Margi Vanderhye lost her seat in what is a Dem district.  All but one precinct that Vanderhye won had lower absolute turnout in 2009 than in 2005; that’s not lower as a percentage of population or as a percentage of registered voters, but lower in absolute vote totals, which is much worse than lower percentage turnout since their was modest population growth and voter registration growth over the preceding 4 years, mostly in Democrats’ favor.  And all but one precinct the GOPer, Comstock, won had higher absolute turnout than 4 years earlier.

    I’m actually quite confident that a motivated Democratic base combined with the reality of today’s Virginia electorate will translate to Obama being able to carry the state.  In fact, I would say that if Obama has job approvals in the 50s nationally and gets reelected, he will have carry Virginia in the mix.

    Obama has the advantage of being able to play in Virginia and the 3 western states of CO, NM, and NV as an offset to losing OH and FL.  He still is going to have that expanded map, and if he can hold it and finish his Presidency with reasonably good job approvals, we’ll have those states in the new map going forward from 2016, too.

    All this translates to more success downballot for us, too.

  4. Perriello runs for his old seat again would high AA turnout be enough to win this seat or is the 5th pretty much lost since Robert Hurt isn’t the nut Goode was. I’m hoping Perriello gives this seat another shot and if he loses then it’s probally lost forever.  

  5. The last month has been total hell for me:  the biggest issue is that my wife was involved in a serious horse accident and I’ve had to be a mother and a father to my 9 year old child…it’s quite stressfull.  The second issue is that election day absolutely sucked.  Oh well, life will go on.

    These poll numbers look pretty encouraging, but I wonder if Webb will actually run in 2012.  Even if he doesn’t run, I like our chances with Perriello or Kaine.  

  6. Is this the same exact sample that gave us the Obama approvals/matchups yesterday?  Because while I was heartened by them, they looked just slightly too good to be true.  I want to believe them, but I guess I’m a little wary after 11/2.

    (concern troll off)

  7. definition for a perma-suck in regards to the economy?

    If we regularly start adding 150,000 jobs month, that still won’t be enough to bring us back to a normal state of affairs for a long time, not by a long shot, but we’d still be moving in the right direction. If it’s something even better, where job growth is slightly larger, it’s even more of a plus. In other words, it’s all about the trajectory. If people feel like things are actually getting better, my guess is that it will be, at worst, a wash, and at best, something that will help the White House. I’d even go so far as to say that this could be true even if the recovery doesn’t reach everyone right away, so that if people feel like there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel, they’ll let up on Obama.

    Luckily for him, he’s still got a long, long time before the next election. I’m willing to bet that we could essentially skate along for most of 2011 but reap the rewards of job growth finally seeming significant if it starts to pick up no later than the spring of 2012.

    Anyway, in regards to Virginia, the nice thing about this map is that it actually puts us in a good spot. I’d even say we’d be in a good spot if Obama were five points down right now, because unless things get a lot worse, he’s clearly going to be able to work his magic on some people, moving his numbers up. But they are already fairly high to begin with, and that’s before any sort of negative campaigning happens. Now, you could certainly make the argument that it’s unlikely that we’ll win Virginia but lose Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, but as long as we are playing in Virginia, North Carolina, and the Southwest, we have several different ways in which we can still get to 270.  Even if we lose Ohio, I don’t think it’ll be by ten points, unless he’s losing his reelection bid in a landslide.  

  8. Extrapolate that over the whole state, which is 5 points more Democratic than the 5th district, and Perriello wins statewide, even in 2010.

  9. Jim Webb probably has my vote as the hardest Senator to classify on a simple “left/right” or “liberal/conservative” scale.  I wish I knew whether a press release like this

    means he’s more likely to be “Born Fighting” and run again, or if he’s just getting fed up and is at risk of bursting a vein in his forehead and calling it quits.  I wouldn’t put money on either side right now.

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