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

Friday, November 04, 2005

Rasmussen poll shows Kaine leads; A1

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

Three days to go. Still too close to call.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine holds a slim lead over Republican former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore in the latest gubernatorial election poll by Rasmussen Research released Friday — another statistical dead heat.

One of the largest surveys to date, the poll of 1,000 likely Virginia voters found 46 percent supporting Kaine, 45 percent favoring Kilgore and 5 percent supporting state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr.

Some 4 percent were undecided.

When asked a follow-up question, 49 percent of voters said they’d support Kaine, while Kilgore climbed to 46 percent. Potts fell to 2 percent, while 3 percent remained undecided.

“Kaine has clearly benefited from his relationship with current governor, Mark Warner,” pollster Scott Rasmussen says in the survey’s abstract.

Some 72 percent of voters polled say they approve of how the incumbent is doing his job.

Warner will be all over the commonwealth — including Winchester — in the final days of the campaign stumping for Kaine and the rest of the Democratic ticket.

On the other side, the GOP has called in their own heavy hitter. President Bush will rally for Kilgore in Richmond on Monday night.

Sen. George Allen will also be on the stump with Kilgore over the weekend.

Now is the time to rally the base for both sides, according to Craig Brians, professor of political science at Virginia Tech.

This late in the game, “you don’t want to activate that ‘you don’t know for sure what they’re going to do,’” he said.

With all polls showing the race within the margin of error, get-out-the-vote efforts will likely be the difference between winning and losing, he said. Because if the base doesn’t show up “you’re in bad, bad shape.”

Bush’s popularity may be down nationwide, but among the Republican faithful in Virginia, he still scores very well.

Rasmussen’s survey found the president with an 88 percent approval rating among self-identified Republicans.

Warner’s no slouch for the Democrats, raking in 86 percent approval.

Among other findings of the poll:

• Kaine and Kilgore both netted 45 percent when voters were asked whom they trusted more with the state’s economy.

• On matters of taxation, Kilgore wins, but just barely, 46 percent to 43 percent.

• Some 51 percent of voters say Kilgore is closer to their views on the death penalty, while 33 percent agree with Kaine.

• Kilgore’s explosive death penalty ads may have backfired. Of all likely voters, 82 percent said they’d seen the ads, Rasmussen said.

“Of those who did, 26 percent said it made them more likely to vote for Kilgore, while 36 percent said they were more likely to vote for Kaine because of the ad,” Rasmussen said.

Meanwhile, out on the campaign trail, the two campaigns spared no effort bashing each other.

Kaine’s press secretary, Delacey Skinner, e-mailed reporters a copy of a letter from the National Taxpayers Union that appeared in the Washington Times, chiding Kilgore for not being more outspoken on fiscal issues.

“Regardless of whether conservatives choose to stay home or go fishing on Nov. 8, it is clear that any Republican who ignores fiscal issues sets himself up for failure,” wrote Paul J. Gessing, the group’s director of government affairs.

Not to be outdone, the Republican Governor’s Association was quick to alert reporters that the Kaine campaign had been fined $100 for not having a large enough “paid for and authorized by” notice on a piece of direct mail.

“Virginia voters need to evaluate whether they can trust Tim Kaine and his consistently dishonest campaign,” Mike Pieper, executive director of the association, says in a statement.