Public Policy Polling is out with a brand new poll of Virginia, and it's got some fascinating information.
*"Tim Kaine and George Allen tie at 47% in our first poll since Jim Webb announced his retirement."
*"Kaine is slightly more popular than Allen, sporting a 46/38 favorability spread to Allen's 39/40."
*"Allen leads the other two Democrats we tested against him, a pair of Congressmen defeated in last year's election. It's 48-41 over Tom Perriello and 47-42 over Rick Boucher."
*"The main reason that Perriello and Boucher do worse than Kaine is that there are three times as many undecided Democrats as Republicans with them in the picture..."
*"Allen's number is pretty much unchanged regardless of the Democrat pitted against him- 47% against Kaine and Boucher, 48% against Perriello."
*"Virginia Presidential numbers we'll release tomorrow...show Barack Obama in a very solid position to win the state again next year."
My takeaways are that Tim Kaine is certainly not a slam-dunk to beat George Allen in 2012, but he's certainly not in bad shape either. Also, Kaine would not necessarily be a much (if at all) stronger Democratic candidate than Tom Perriello or Rick Boucher in 2012, given that Allen's numbers are basically the same no matter who the Democratic nominee is. In fact, the main difference right now is in name ID (Kaine's is far higher statewide than Perriello's or Boucher's or Bobby Scott's or...). In the final analysis, the 2012 race will feature Barack Obama at the top of the ballot, and I find it difficult to believe that if Obama's carrying Virginia, that the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee running with him won't be able to beat a guy who still carries huge baggage from his 2006 run, not to mention his 6 years doing nothing in the Senate except voting 97% with George W. Bush.
So, when's Tim Kaine going to let us know whether he's running or not? Reportedly, he's on vacation this week and will make his decision, then probably let everyone know next week. Stay tuned...
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