On Politics

Coverage of Virginia politics and the 2014 election.

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Poll shows Allen, Kaine close; Gingrich ahead of Romney in Va

A new Quinnipiac University poll out today shows two former Virginia governors nearly in a dead heat for next year’s U.S. Senate race.

The poll showed Republican George Allen with 44 percent, and Democrat Tim Kaine with 42 percent. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percent, which makes the two-point difference between the two a statistical tie.

Quinnipiac pollsters say this is the fourth poll they’ve done in which the Senate race is too close to call. Allen and Kaine are considered their parties’ front-runners, although both have opposition for the nomination. The poll only paired Allen and Kaine, and didn’t mention other candidates by name.

In the Republican presidential nomination contest, the poll shows Newt Gingrich doing better than Mitt Romney among Republicans, but suggests Romney would make a better showing against President Barack Obama in a general election.

When the poll includes other Republican presidential candidates, Gingrich polls at 30 percent to Romney’s 25 percent. The margin increases — 47 percent to Gingrich, 39 percent to Romney — if the two were head-to-head without other candidates.

That’s a turnaround from previous polls, according to Quinnipiac’s press release — the last time Quinnipiac polled Virginia Republicans, in October, Gingrich had just 7 percent.

However, Romney polls better against Obama than Gingrich does. The survey shows Romney getting 44 percent of the vote to Obama’s 42 percent, while Obama gets 46 percent to Gingrich’s 41 percent.

The poll shows Republican voters in Virginia think Romney would do better at handling the economy than Gingrich. But they think Gingrich is better on foreign policy, knowledge and experience, and strong leadership.

Voters give Romney and Obama more favorable ratings than Gingrich, who “faces a crucial selling job to independents and moderate Democrats more partial to Romney,” according to the poll’s news release.

A majority of Virginia voters — 51 percent — disapprove of the job Obama is doing, and 53 percent say he doesn’t deserve a second term.

Tomorrow Quinnipiac will release results of another poll, surveying Virginians on state issues such as uranium mining and guns on campuses.