OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Sunday, July 24, 2005 :::

A Big Shift in the Polls: Kaine 38 - Kilgore 37

For the first time this year, Tim Kaine holds a lead in statewide polling (and who was up in the wee hours writing about it? Kilo, who offers a sobering look at the numbers)

Sobering they are. And they ought to make things more interesting from here on out. And that makes Larry Sabato practically giddy:

"This poll is really going to shake up this contest," said political analyst Larry J. Sabato of the University of Virginia. "Kaine is doing at least every bit as well as Kilgore, and Potts is clearly still a factor. Thank God, this race is finally getting interesting."

Whoa, there tiger. Take it outside.

According to the TD's ace poll analyst Jeff "Good Copy" Schapiro (who also, no doubt, is beside himself with glee):

Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has a statistically insignificant lead over former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, according to the survey, which shows Kaine is helped by the broad popularity of the fellow Democrat he hopes to succeed, Gov. Mark R. Warner.

The poll also suggests Republican Kilgore is losing GOP and independent votes to state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., a Republican state senator running for governor as an independent.

Kaine had 38 percent to 37 percent for Kilgore. Potts was favored by 9 percent. Sixteen percent were undecided.

Maybe Jeff isn't that pleased. "Statistically insignificant," without a doubt. But psychologically significant, without question.

The poll would seem to indicate that everything many people have understood about Virginia politics is wrong:

The poll indicates Virginians are mostly concerned about bread-and-butter issues that Kaine, playing defense on several cultural issues, would prefer to emphasize: education, transportation and jobs, among them.

Voters seem less interested in guns, gay rights, abortion and the death penalty, the hot-button topics that Kilgore has emphasized to excite the Republican base.

Interesting. But then so, too, are the numbers for the Other Candidate for governor:

The poll depicts Potts as a greater threat to Kilgore than Kaine.

Eight percent of the voters describing themselves as Republicans chose Potts; of the self-described Democrats, 5 percent did. Potts is backed by 14 percent of the independents, contributing to a comfortable advantage for Kaine over Kilgore with the swing voters.

Now before ol' Russ gets too worked up, here's some additonal insight from Garren Shipley's piece:

Even worse, some 57 percent of those polled said they don’t recognize the candidate’s name. Only 19 percent had not heard of Kaine, and 9 percent had not heard of Kilgore.

Better get Hillsman to crank out at least one ad for you, Russ. Otherwise, you're going nowhere.

Overall, not a good poll for Kilgore. Yes, the race is tight and the Kaine "lead" is well within the margin of error. But margins of error don't tell stories -- headlines do. And the headline right now is that Kaine is ahead.

Not time to panic, certainly. But this does change the psychological footing in the race. Advantage (at least until the next poll) to Kaine.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 7/24/2005 8 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

"The graveyards are full of indespensable men" -- Charles de Gaulle

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