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

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Poll: Allen would win re-election; A1

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

Maybe the race for the U.S. Senate in Virginia isn’t that close, after all.

Had the election been held Wednesday, incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen would have won re-election with 56 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Democratic nominee James Webb, according to a new poll done this week by SurveyUSA for TV stations in Roanoke and Washington.

Some 5 percent said they would vote for another candidate, and 3 percent said they were undecided. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.

The poll stands in contrast to two other recent surveys by Zogby and Rasmussen Reports, which found a five-point and 10-point Allen lead, respectively.

Findings from the poll of 533 “likely” voters include:

• Webb leads among the 41 percent of voters who identified themselves as moderate, 49 percent to Allen’s 41 percent.

• Some 53 percent of voters asked said they disapprove of President Bush’s job performance, while 43 percent approve. Not surprisingly, 95 percent of those who approved of Bush said they support fellow Republican Allen.

But of those who disapprove of Bush’s job performance, 66 percent said they would vote for Webb, while 22 would vote for Allen.

• Allen holds a solid lead across three of the four geographic areas identified in the poll — winning the Shenandoah region, Southeast and central Virginia by no fewer than 19 points.

“Jim Webb was busy touting the Zogby poll last week, but we haven’t heard him talking much about this one,” said Allen spokesman Bill Bozin. “Senator Allen, of course, is not paying attention to any of these polls — he’s focused on his job representing Virginians in the Senate.”

The Webb campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The results come on the heels of a bruising war of press releases from the two campaigns over the failed constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

This week’s volley started when the Allen campaign chided Webb for not immediately declaring his position on the ill-fated vote.

Webb’s campaign responded with a mildly worded statement, saying that the candidate “does not believe it is necessary to amend the Constitution in order to protect the dignity of our flag.” Allen’s camp sensed an opening and grabbed it, attempting to tie Webb to some of the Senate’s liberal icons.

“James H. Webb, Jr. continues to demonstrate he is totally beholden to the liberal Washington Senators who dragged him across the line in the Democratic primary,” Dick Wadhams, Allen’s campaign manager, said in an e-mail to reporters.

Webb’s camp responded with a blistering rebuke.

“Jim Webb served and fought for our flag and what it stands for, while George Felix Allen Jr. chose to cut and run. When he and his disrespectful campaign puppets attack Jim Webb they are attacking every man and woman who served,” said Webb spokesman Steve Jarding in an e-mail to reporters.

“Their comments are nothing more than weak-kneed attacks by cowards,” Jarding continued.

“While Jim Webb and others of George Felix Allen Jr.’s generation were fighting for our freedoms and for our symbols of freedom in Vietnam, George Felix Allen Jr. was playing cowboy at a dude ranch in Nevada. People who live in glass dude ranches should not question the patriotism of real soldiers who fought and bled for this country on a real battlefield.”

Election Day is Nov. 7.