The Washington Times - August 23, 2012, 03:33PM

The 2012 Virginia Senate race has been within the margin of error for virtually the entire campaign, but Republican George Allen now has literally drawn even with Democrat Tim Kaine in a new poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling after narrowly trailing in the firm’s previous five polls.

Both former governors took 46 percent of the vote, compared to a 2-point, 46 percent to 44 percent edge for Mr. Kaine last month, according to the survey from PPP.


“The Virginia Senate race continues to be inside the margin of error,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP. “Neither candidate has been able to separate himself and it seems unlikely that will happen between now and November either.”

The two candidates in one of the most-closely-watched Senate races in the country had virtually identical favorability numbers as well. Forty-three percent have a favorable opinion of Mr. Allen compared with 41 percent with an unfavorable one, while Mr. Kaine has a 45 percent to 44 percent favorable-unfavorable split.

Mr. Kaine receives 50 percent of the female vote compared with 39 percent for Mr. Allen, while Mr. Allen receives 53 percent of the male vote compared with 40 percent for Mr. Kaine.

Mr. Allen, who is a former senator, notably has a 13-point advantage — 52 percent to 39 percent — among voters who identified their party affiliation as “independent/other.” But interestingly, Mr. Kaine has a 60 percent to 26 percent advantage with those who identified their ideological leaning as “moderate.”

The poll’s party breakdown was 37 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican and 33 percent independent/other. But just 28 percent of voters identified themselves as “very” or “somewhat” liberal, compared with 40 percent who said they were “very” or “somewhat” conservative.

The firm polled 855 likely Virginia voters from Aug. 16 to 19. The poll has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.