- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another poll, another virtual tie between Tim Kaine and George Allen.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, holds a statistically insignificant 46 to 45 percent lead over Mr. Allen, a Republican, in the race for retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Jim Webb’s seat, according to new poll figures from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

The virtual tie between the former Virginia governors adds more fodder to the credo that the race will be one of the closest - and most watched - in the country this year.

Mr. Allen had a wider lead among Republicans than Mr. Kaine did among Democrats. GOP voters were 83 percent in favor of Mr. Allen, with 10 percent opting for Mr. Kaine and 7 percent undecided. Meanwhile, 77 percent of Democrats favored Mr. Kaine and 13 percent favored Mr. Allen, with 10 percent undecided. Mr. Allen had a slight 46 to 44 percent lead among independents.

Forty-one percent of independents view Mr. Kaine favorably, 39 percent view him unfavorably, and 20 percent aren’t sure. Meanwhile, 34 percent of the ever-coveted independent voting block had a favorable opinion of Mr. Allen, while 43 percent had an unfavorable one. Twenty-three percent were unsure.

Mr. Kaine has healthy leads over two other potential GOP opponents. He leads tea party activist Jamie Radtke by a 15 percent margin and Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican, by 13 percent.

But Mr. Allen holds a commanding lead in the Republican primary contest. If the election were held today, according to the poll, 66 percent of GOP primary voters said they would vote for the former governor and U.S. senator, compared to 8 percent for Mr. Marshall, 3 percent for Ms. Radtke, and 2 percent for Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson. Twenty percent were undecided.

Mr. Kaine is already the official Democratic nominee.

“The Virginia Senate race is about the most boring race we poll,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “It’s always too close to call and probably will be all the way to November. Voters know the candidates, are split in their feelings about them and haven’t shown much inclination to budge.”

Thirty-nine percent of respondents for the overall poll identified themselves as Democrats, compared to 32 percent who said they were Republicans and 29 percent who were independent or other.

The firm surveyed 680 Virginia voters and 400 Virginia Republican primary voters from April 26 to April 29. The margin of error is 3.8 percent for the overall survey and 4.9 percent for the GOP primary survey.