Another day, another piece of evidence that many Virginia Democrats want Timothy M. Kaine to run for Senate.
Kaine, the former Virginia governor and current Democratic National Committee chairman, has now been mulling for a month whether to enter the race to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D). Kaine returns from vacation Wednesday, and his spokesman has said he should to make a decision this week or next. In the interim, a host of prominent Virginia Democrats have urged Kaine to run for the seat, viewing him as the party’s best bet against ex-Sen. George Allen, the likely GOP nominee.
Now a new set of results from Public Policy Polling, which has been trickling out data from a Virginia survey for several days, shows Kaine with a wide lead in a hypothetical primary matchup against a host of other Democrats.
The poll from PPP — a Democratic firm that uses autodial technology rather than live interviews — found that 53 percent of “usual Democratic primary voters” wanted Kaine as their nominee. Ex-Reps. Rick Boucher and Tom Perriello and current Rep. Bobby Scott each got 9 percent, while former Gov. Douglas Wilder was the choice of 8 percent. Rep. Gerry Connolly and ex-Rep. Glenn Nye — both of whom have already said they won’t run — got 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
In a three-man field, Kaine got 65 percent while Perriello earned 15 percent and Boucher took 11 percent. But none of these potential matchups is likely to happen, since none of the tested opponents is expected to run if Kaine takes the plunge.
Kaine, who sought to govern the state as a moderate, has some detractors in his own party — particularly in the liberal blogosphere. But the PPP survey found that “Kaine has a superb 75-10 favorability margin with his base, better than ... Allen’s 68-15 with Republicans.” The poll also noted that neither Perriello nor Boucher is known to a majority of Democratic primary voters, a dynamic that would change if either man ran for the seat.