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July 30, 2006
Webb Tangled

Virginia supposedly offered one of the brightest hopes for a Democratic takeaway in this year's Senate race. James Webb, a former Reagan official and a best-selling novelist, challenged potential Presidential aspirant and leading conservative George Allen, who has served as Governor and Senator in the state. Early polls showed Allen vulnerable to Webb, but the latest surveys show that Webb has dropped back rather dramatically:

Republican Sen. George Allen has a 16-point lead over Democratic challenger Jim Webb in the latest independent statewide poll, published Sunday, but a fifth of the electorate is still undecided. ...

Forty-eight percent backed Allen and 32 percent supported Webb in the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. survey of registered voters likely to vote in the Nov. 7 election.

However, 20 percent of the 625 respondents surveyed statewide by telephone July 25-27 said they had not decided between Allen, a former governor seeking a second Senate term, and Webb, a former Republican who was President Reagan's Navy secretary.

The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Webb probably damaged his chances in a recent debate when he admitted he had no idea what or where Craney Island is. Allen used it to brag about bringing home some pork, which doesn't speak well for Allen, but he scored an important point about Webb's lack of depth regarding Virginia's economy and politics. Craney Island supports tens of thousands of jobs and serves as a major refueling port on the Atlantic Coast. It also has plenty of historical significance for a state that practically serves history with every breakfast. Ignorance of its significance painted Webb as a lightweight, and the new polling demonstrates that plenty of Virginians paid attention.

Even before that, however, Webb's numbers had started to decline. Rasmussen put Allen up by eleven on July 18, up slightly from June. While the AP points out that Bush's declining job approval has created a drag on Allen, his own approval far exceeds that of Webb. Allen gets a 64% favorable rating from Rasmussen's survey against a 31% unfavorable rating. Webb, despite his status as a relative newcomer and a popular author, only garners a 46% favorable rating against 31% unfavorable, with 24% undecided.

Allen still has not topped 50%, which provides some cause for anxiety. Allen can't afford to let up. However, if the Democrats counted on Virginians to end Allen's career, it looks like they're in for some disappointment.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 30, 2006 11:41 AM

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» What a Tangled Webb from
Poll: Allen leads Webb Key quote: Webb had a 43 percent to 37 percent edge in Northern Virginia with 20 percent of the region’s voters undecided. Other areas of Virginia, notably those farther from DC, fared much better for Mr. Allen. This means one ... [Read More]

Tracked on July 31, 2006 7:21 AM


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