For all the attacks the tea party is lobbing Senate candidate George Allen’s way, a poll released Tuesday shows that they don’t seem to be sticking.
Sixty-five percent of Republican Party primary voters in Virginia think he’s about “right” ideologically, and just 25 percent supported a generic “more conservative” alternative, according to the poll from the left-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.
Against actual candidates, Mr. Allen received 67 percent of the vote, compared to 5 percent for tea party activist Jamie Radtke, 3 percent for Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson, 2 percent for Northern Virginia television mogul Tim Donner and 2 percent for Hampton Roads attorney David McCormick.
And looking a bit further down the road to the 2013 GOP gubernatorial primary, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, whose bombshell announcement earlier this month that he was running for governor sent giant ripples through the state’s political pool, leads Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, 44 percent to 25 percent.
Name recognition could be key. Seventy-three percent of voters have an opinion of Mr. Cuccinelli compared to less than half for Mr. Bolling. The firebrand attorney general leads 58 percent to 18 percent among tea party voters, while Mr. Bolling leads 47 percent to 22 percent among moderates.
In the presidential GOP primary field, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich continued his recent surge in the polls, taking 41 percent compared to his next closest competitor, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, at 15 percent. Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are tied at 8 percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Ron Paul are at 6 percent apiece, and former Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman and businessman Gary Johnson round out the field at 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
“The Virginia Republican electorate is trending very conservative right now with its preference for Newt Gingrich, George Allen, and Ken Cuccinelli,” said Dean Debnam, Public Policy Polling president. “It will be interesting to see how viable those guys end up being in a general election.”
The poll, which surveyed 350 Republican primary voters from Dec. 11-13, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percent.