A new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey reveals Virginia US Senate Candidate George Allen is walking away with the Republican nomination. Allen received 66% of the tally while the final entrant into the race Delegate Bob Marshall polled at just 8%. Jamie Radtke, the former head of the Richmond TEA Party has fallen to 3% and Bishop Jackson (who won the debate last Saturday) was at 2%. This poll was taken between April 26 and April 29, so it does not provide a good measure of any effects from the debate.
PPP took a reading in December, 2011 on the Republican Senate Primary race and although Tim Donner and David McCormick have left the race and Marshall has come in, Allen’s support has remained essentially unchanged as the rest of the field fights for the leftovers with none managing to break into double digits. In December, the PPP tally showed Allen at 67%, Radtke at 5%, Jackson at 3% and Donner and McCormick with 2% each.
George Allen has a strong, solid base of support. His time in politics in Virginia has earned him a statewide and loyal base. While there will undoubtedly be some erosion of primary voters from Allen to Marshall, most of those who would support a Bob Marshall for Senate bid would necessarily come from the other three candidates.
And that expectation is reflected by the changes in the polls. Allen’s support was down only 1%, while Radtke lost 2% and Jackson 1%. (Keep in mind that these are small percentages and totally within the margin of error.)
But it appears that Allen’s support remains strong and the others are battling over less than 15% of the vote. With the undecideds at 20% and the likelihood that Allen will get the lions share of those, this primary is little more than a formality.
I called this primary race for George Allen in November 2011 and see no reason to think otherwise as we approach the last month of the primary campaign season.
There is little doubt that the race will tighten, but it will still be a landslide for Allen.
This race will most likely see Allen over 50%, probably in the high 50′s and perhaps he will reach into the 60′s depending on the ratio of undecided voters. Marshall will probably break 10% to perhaps 15% with Radtke near 10% and Jackson will struggle to get out of the single digits despite strong debate performances.
This same poll shows Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine in a dead heat head to head with the other Republican primary challengers well behind Kaine.
But as I say with most PPP polls, they are a Democratic polling outfit and always tend to lean to the left in the party affiliation of their polls. Their methods for the Republican Primary contest are not easily skewed as they surveyed Republican Primary Voters, which probably means Republicans who are likely primary voters.
But they always tend to over sample Democrats when polling all voters until the election draws closer when they want to be as accurate as possible to maintain some credibility.
And the skew in this poll was no different than their usual.
The model they used is essentially the 2008 presidential vote demographics. Despite Virginia’s move to the right in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 elections, PPP polled 39% Democrats and just 32% Republicans. Most believe the split these days favors Republicans, not Democrats.
PPP obviously has an agenda here, but the good news for the Allen campaign is that even with 7% more Democrats in the survey, Kaine has only a 1% lead. An earlier Roanoke College poll that was pretty evenly balanced showed Allen up by 7% which is probably about where this poll would be if it were done properly.
Allen is catching up to Keine in contributions, but Kaine has already had his “bump” in dollars as he is no longer facing a primary, having convinced the challengers to drop out.
As soon as the formal primary concludes in the Republican nomination process, Allen will see a jump in cash flowing his way.
Early polls are nothing to get too excited about, but Allen is doing well and by most fair measures ahead of Kaine. There is still a lot of work to do once the Primary is over, but George Allen is in the driver’s seat.
This is the link to the latest PPP Poll.
And here is the one from December.