The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Monday, October 24, 2005

Governor’s race a virtual toss-up, latest poll suggests; B1

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

Election Day could very well be a nail-biter, according to a poll of Virginia voters released Monday.

A Thursday survey of 500 voters by Rasmussen Research found Republican Jerry Kilgore with a statistically insignificant lead over Democrat Tim Kaine, 44 percent to 42 percent.

Independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr., a Republican state senator from Winchester, garnered 4 percent.

When respondents were questioned further about whether they were likely to change their minds, the numbers shifted, but the margins didn’t.

Kilgore and Kaine both climb four points to 48 percent and 46 percent, respectively, while Potts drops two points to 2 percent.

“The race to succeed Mark Warner as governor of Virginia remains too close to call,” said pollster Scott Rasmussen in the abstract of the new survey.

Over at Camp Kaine, officials concede the numbers are tight, but other poll findings show they’re doing well.

“I think the Mason-Dixon numbers [released over the weekend], when you go into the breakdown, we’re doing really well with our base and really well with independents,” said Delacey Skinner, Kaine’s press secretary.

“Jerry is having some real serious problems with Republicans.”

Rasmussen polled a similar question, and found that liberals are slightly more supportive of the Democratic candidate than conservatives are of the Republican contender.

Some 70 percent of self-identified conservatives back Kilgore, while 75 percent of self-identified liberals back Kaine.

“We are doing very, very well with our base,” countered Kilgore spokesman Tucker Martin.

“We hear from our field staff that the Republican base in this state is fired up for Jerry Kilgore. If Tim Kaine wants to be proud that he has liberal base in line, we hope he shouts that to the heavens,” Martin said. “More power to him.”

Among other results in the Monday poll:

• Both candidates have higher “favorable” ratings than “unfavorable.” Kilgore’s numbers are 54 percent positive, 37 percent negative, while Kaine’s are 57 percent positive and 34 negative

• Voters said the economy was the foremost matter on their minds, at 24 percent, while health care was the next most important, at 12 percent.

Another 11 percent said taxes were most important, and 10 percent said immigration.

Those numbers vary significantly from Mason-Dixon’s results, released on Sunday, which found voters most concerned about education issues, at 21 percent, followed by state taxes and spending, 17 percent, and transportation issues, 15 percent.

• Virginia voters think Warner is doing a much better job than President Bush.

Warner has an approval number of 72 percent, while Bush’s number in Virginia is under water at 48 percent.

Still, Kilgore is bringing in some big Republican names, if not the biggest name, to stump for him in the closing days, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Kaine recently brought in President Clinton to conduct a pair of fundraisers for his campaign.

Election Day is Nov. 8.