November’s expected Senate race in Virginia between former governors George Allen (R) and Timothy M. Kaine (D) is too close to call, while next year’s battle for the Republican gubernatorial nod heavily favors Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, a new survey shows.
The Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday shows Cuccinelli leading Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling among Republican registered voters, 51 percent to 15 percent, in a GOP primary matchup. Cuccinelli is popular with many conservatives, and a Washington Post survey released last month showed the attorney general with much stronger name identification than Bolling.
But even though the new poll shows Cuccinelli with a primary lead, some of his supporters believe he would benefit more if the nominee were picked via a convention, and some want the state party to scrap the proposed primary
“While the ratio of job approval/disapproval among all voters is similar for [Bolling and Cuccinelli], Republicans give the attorney general much higher ratings,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “It is early in the campaign, but at this point, Cuccinelli holds a very, very strong position in the race for governor.”
The man they’re seeking to succeed, Gov. Robert McDonnell (R), gets a 53 percent job approval rating, while 30 percent disapprove. That matches McDonnell’s rating in the March poll, the lowest of his tenure as measured by Quinnipiac. Sen. Mark Warner (D) continues to score the best numbers in the state, with 60 percent approval.
In the marquee Senate race, Kaine gets 44 percent and Allen 43 percent among registered voters. Quinnipiac’s last Virginia survey, released in March, gave Kaine 47 percent to Allen’s 44 percent.
Kaine and Allen have been within the margin of error in nearly every poll taken of the race, dating back more than a year. A Washington Post poll released last month showed the two men tied at 46 percent apiece among registered voters, just as they were in a May 2011 Post poll.
In the Quinnipiac poll, each man has a strong lead among voters from his own party, while Allen has a narrow edge with Independents. Allen leads among men by 5 points, while Kaine leads by 6 among women.
While Kaine has the Democratic nod sewn up, Allen must still get through Tuesday’s Republican primary before he can proceed to the general election ballot. Allen is the heavy favorite against Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson, Del. Robert G. Marshall (Prince William) and former Virginia Tea Party Patriots head Jamie Radtke.