George Allen has opened up an 8-point lead over Timothy M. Kaine in their likely Senate matchup while President Obama runs neck-and-neck
with Mitt Romney, according to a new poll of Virginia released Tuesday.
The Roanoke College Poll shows Allen (R) leading Kaine (D) 45 percent to 37 percent among Virginia adults, an improvement of five points for Allen since the last Roanoke survey in September. The two former governors are their respective parties’ likely nominees in the contest to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D).
The poll finds Allen holding a narrow lead among Independents and a 16-point lead among men, while the two candidates are tied among Virginia women.
The Roanoke poll’s results differ from those of nearly every other survey taken since the Senate race began, with most polls showing the Kaine-Allen matchup within the margin of error. A Christopher Newport University poll released last week showed Allen with a 2-point lead, while a Quinnipiac University survey from three weeks ago had Kaine up by 1 point. The Roanoke poll was in the field from Feb. 13-26, an unusually long period of time.
In the presidential contest, the Roanoke survey has Obama essentially tied with Romney, trailing by a single point, while the incumbent leads former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.), ex-House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) by 6, 10 and 11 points respectively.
None of the GOP contenders is particularly popular in the state. Santorum has the highest rating of the four — 35 percent of respondents have a favorable view of him, compared to 28 percent for Romney.
The Roanoke poll showed a slight downturn in the popularity of Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R), whose approval rating went from 67 percent in September to 60 percent now, and Sen. Mark Warner (D), whose score slipped from 67 percent to 62 percent.
And Virginians don’t think much of Congress as a whole — just 11 percent approve of the job the institution is doing, the same number as September.