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Sunday, September 10, 2006

VA-Sen: Mason-Dixon Has Webb Within Four

Posted by James L.

Mason-Dixon, one of the best in the biz, confirms what we've been seeing in the recent SurveyUSA and Rasmussen polls (with Zogby Interactive being just a little too optimistic for Webb)--Webb has the big mo' (likely voters, July in parens):

Jim Webb (D): 42 (32)
George Felix Allen, Jr. (R): 46 (48)
Undecided: 12 (20)
MoE: ±4%

Here's the Macaca Effect at work:

While most voters said the “macaca” comment did little to change their minds about the race, Allen’s unfavorable rating increased from 23 percent to 31 percent between July and September. The percentage of undecided voters dropped from 20 percent to 12 percent, with Webb the apparent beneficiary of that shift. Webb’s support among black voters increased from 39 percent to 73 percent.

“It’s pretty easy to draw a straight line from that to the 'macaca,’ ” said Brad Coker, the managing director of the Mason-Dixon poll.


Allen has a 9-point lead over Webb in Southwest and Southside Virginia and greater margins in the Shenandoah Valley and the Richmond area. But Webb holds a 13-point lead in vote-rich Northern Virginia, an area that was critical to the 2005 victory of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine.

If Webb can energize the NoVA vote, Allen is in for a world of pain in November. The best part about these numbers is that they were taken before Webb got on the air in any meaningful way. Webb's first TV ads start tomorrow, I believe, and, as MyDD notes, Schumer has hooked up Webb with Tim Kaine's ad guy. Webb is still a relative unknown quantity in Virginia; as his fundraising and airtime escalates, the chances of this race tightening, or even shifting to Webb are much greater.

The recipe for victory is here. All we need is for Webb and the DSCC to step up and make sure it happens.

Posted at 12:53 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Technorati

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Hopefully Webb's first ad invoking R.Reagan will make headway in his native Southwestern VA and in Tidewater, where his military/defense background has yet to show a groundswell of support. The "macaca" incident increasing support amongst black voters will surely help Webb in both Richmond & Tidewater where he was trailing by much wider margins and needs to do well. Webb's support in vote rich No. VA should remain strong and pull him through, but he needs to carry Richmond,Norfolk-Hampton-Newport News by large margins to pull this off. Hopefully ex-Gov Doug Wilder will come out with a strong endorsement for Webb as an assist, it has helped in the past.

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 02:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It all comes down to Tidewater, where Webb needs robust support in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Newport News. A good indicator of how the night is going is a competitive contest in Virginia Beach, the largest city in Tidewater and Virginia as a whole. Tim Kaine won the city last year and Phil Kellam is looking better there every day in his House race. If the contest is even close in Virginia Beach, Webb will likely win.

Also, Webb has written a book about his Scots-Irish heritage and it could prove to be a tremendous selling point in the Appalachain southwest. Don't write Webb off even in that corner of Virginia. I'm liking the way this race is going, although Nancy Reagan balking at Webb's use of the Gipper in his ad could prove to be a setback.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 02:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yeah, definetely do not write off Southwestern Virginia when it comes to Webb winning it. Remember that Democratic Incumbent Rick Boucher is running for reelection in Southwest Virginia, so perhaps margins there could push Webb over the top. But Webb definetely needs to win over Hampton Roads / Richmond / Roanoake well in order to counter Allen's margins produced in places like the Shenandoah, which will always remain reliably conservative (Although Deeds performed very well here)

Posted by: KainIIIC [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 03:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Screw 6, we're gonna take 7 seats! PA, RI, OH, MO, MT, TN, and VA!

Posted by: jkfp2004 [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 03:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The latest poll on VA-02 was heartening, everyone seemed to be thinking initially that Webb would be helping Kellam there and it may turn out to be the other way around, esp, if the Kellam GOTV effort is strong. Only Tim Kaine has carried Virginia Beach in recent history, by 1.13%, Mark Warner lost it by 6.71%, other Commonwealthwide candidates have fared worse. There has been a huge influx of blacks and asians into VB over the last 10 years, alot of redevelopment flight from Norfolk, the demographics are changing there. I'll be watching VB precincts closely as it will be a great indicator as to how these races will go. Esp. in middle class Ocean Lakes and upper middle class Cape Henry precincts, if Webb/Kellam come close in either/both one it is a good sign.

Nancy Reagan, most Reaganites I know can't stand her..LOL.

Posted by: Predictor [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 03:32 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm not sure how the Reagan thing will cut, either. When you compare the hyperbole out of the Republican camp against the clip to the actual ad itself, it strikes me as way overblown. Webb was in Reagan's administration. Reagan said some nice things about Webb once. Big deal.

Since the purchase for the ad was limited (a small run in three media markets, I believe)--raising such a fuss about it could backfire in that the ad would receive much more attention than it would have otherwise, including newscasts rebroadcasting the Reagan clip. It's possible people will see it and ask what the controversy is about, or even view Webb in a better light because of it. But it's also possible that they'd think Webb should honor Nancy Reagan's wishes. So I'm not sure how it'll play.

Posted by: James L. [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 03:45 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


In terms of poll acurracy, other than Mason-Dixon, which polls are reliable?

I found a site other than pollster.com and they have a pretty good list of polls for each competitive senate and gov. race as well. I've also noticed how many people tend to take Zogby polls with a grain of salt, why is that so?

Thanks for your help, as you can see, I'm a n00b.

Posted by: CanadianDem [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 06:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Well, that's a good question. There are a ton of polling firms out there, and you never want to cherry-pick one or two polls that tell you what you want to hear while dismissing the rest as methodoligically flawed, or outliers, etc.

As for Zogby--you have to be careful here because Zogby has two separate polling outfits: Zogby International, which does traditional polling, and Zogby Interactive, which does polling over the internet. Zogby Int'l has been shown to skew slightly towards Democratic candidates than other polling firms, but they're still legit. Zogby Interactive, on the other hand, is, in my opinion, seriously questionable. If you followed Zogby Interactive's 2004 Presidential polling, they gave you some highly unlikely results: Kerry leading Bush in Tennessee, for instance. Internet polling, at this point, has yet to be proven reliable.

Polling outfits like Rasmussen and SurveyUSA use automated messages and numerated responses (eg. "push 1 for the Republican candidate, push 2 for the Democratic candidate") in their polling methodology instead of human operators asking the questions. The obvious problem here is getting 9 year-olds participating in the polling sample. For this reason, professional prognosticators like Charlie Cook (a guy we respect here at SSP) don't even discuss or consider Rasmussen or SUSA polls in their analyses. Rasmussen, in particular, has a questionable track record, and an editorial decision has been made here at SSP to not use Rasmussen polling in our analysis--unless no alternatives are available. I'm waiting for Rasmussen to improve their track record before I lean too heavily on their polling. SUSA, on the other hand, has a better track record, and we include their polls in posts here.

That said, there are problems with telephone polls, too. Namely, cell phone users aren't polled! I've heard different figures, but one in five cell phone users don't have land lines. Since cell phone users are younger (generally), it's possible that all polls are missing a key demographic that would have shifted their results if included.

Your best bet, though, is never to rely on any single poll or pollster and hope that their results are the truth. You want to take an average of the most recent polls from a variety of places, and you'll probably get a better snapshot of the race.

Posted by: James L. [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 08:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Speaking of Zogby/WSJ, it shows Webb up 7.5 pts


Posted by: KainIIIC [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2006 09:41 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment