- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poll results released Tuesday show significant daylight between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine in the campaign to replace retiring Sen. Jim Webb from Virginia.

Mr. Allen holds a 45 percent to 37 percent lead over Mr. Kaine, up from a 3 percentage point margin in September, according to a Roanoke College Poll released Tuesday. The poll of 607 Virginia residents was conducted from Feb. 13 to Feb. 26 and had a margin of error of 4 points.

Essentially every other poll released since the campaign began last spring has shown the two opponents in a statistical dead heat.

In the latest poll, Mr. Allen leads among independent voters, 43 percent to 38 percent, but Mr. Kaine leads among self-described “moderates,” 50 percent to 33 percent.

Forty-three percent of those polled identified themselves as “conservative,” while 35 percent said they were “moderate” and 17 percent said they were “liberal.”

Thirty-one percent of respondents said they were independents, 30 percent identified themselves as Republicans, and 28 percent said they were Democrats.

“The likely Allen/Kaine race still has many undecided voters, and most polls continue to show it to be a close race,” said Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. “These results should be good news for Allen, but it is a long time between now and November.”

Asked to name the most important election issue, 43 percent of respondents said it was the economy, while 24 percent said unemployment, and 9 percent said the budget deficit.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, retains a robust 60 percent job-approval rating, though the figure was down from 67 percent in September, according to the poll.

The poll did not ask about other candidates in the Senate race.

The Republican field also includes Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican; tea party activist Jamie Radtke; Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson and Hampton Roads lawyer David McCormick.

On the Democratic side, Reston businessman Julien Modica and Fairfax consultant Courtney Lynch are also running.

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