- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2005

Weekly churchgoers in Virginia prefer Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore to Democrat Timothy M. Kaine, according to a statewide poll.

The finding is one of several that offers insights into Virginians likely to vote in the Nov. 8 election.

Those who attend church every week favored Mr. Kilgore by 56 percent, according to a telephone survey Wednesday conducted by Rasmussen Reports of 500 likely voters.

The poll also showed 29 percent of the weekly churchgoers would vote for Mr. Kaine, and 5 percent would vote for independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr.

However, the poll also showed that Mr. Kaine has an eight-point lead over Mr. Kilgore among voters who say they “rarely, never or occasionally” go to church.

Mr. Kaine often talks about his Catholic faith and how serving as a Christian missionary in Honduras as a young man was a life-changing experience.

Mr. Kilgore, a Baptist, also invokes his faith in stump speeches.

The interviewers did not ask the potential voters to state their religious affiliation.

The poll, first reported yesterday in The Washington Times, showed Mr. Kilgore with a three-point lead over Mr. Kaine among all surveyed, a slight drop from polls done over the summer.

The poll also showed Mr. Kilgore was more popular among men and voters over 40.

Mr. Kaine was preferred by women and voters 18 to 39. Mr. Kilgore also had a slight edge among married voters, while Mr. Kaine had the edge among singles.

Though the demographic numbers provide a more in-depth look at voter views in the upcoming election, the results are no surprise to Scott Rasmussen, president of the polling firm.

“There’s nothing that is unusual in those trends,” he said.

Mr. Kilgore was favored by the majority of those who identified themselves as Republicans, though 24 percent of Democrats polled would support him.

Mr. Kaine was the preferred choice of Democrats, with 17 percent of Republicans saying they support him.

Of voters who identified themselves as independent or of another party, Mr. Kaine had 39 percent. Mr. Kilgore had 30 percent and Mr. Potts had 12 percent.

Overall, the poll showed Mr. Kilgore receiving 43 percent of the vote, Mr. Kaine capturing 40 percent and Mr. Potts receiving 5 percent. Mr. Kilgore’s lead is within the margin of error, plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

An Aug. 3 Rasmussen poll showed Mr. Kilgore with a six-point lead.

In a poll in July, Mr. Kilgore, the state’s former attorney general, also had a six-point lead over Mr. Kaine, the lieutenant governor.

A poll conducted by The Washington Post last week showed Mr. Kilgore receiving 45 percent of the vote and Mr. Kaine 41 percent. Mr. Potts received 5 percent. Among likely voters, Mr. Kilgore’s lead was seven points.

In other developments yesterday, Mr. Potts, a Republican state senator from Winchester, said he will begin airing TV ads tomorrow that criticize the two main-party candidates as “lackluster.”

One 30-second ad, titled “Pot Bangers,” will run on network and cable channels statewide. It features moms banging on pots and pans, a man clanging his grill and children beating pot-drums, all chanting, “We want Potts.”

Unless Mr. Potts receives 15 percent in two statewide polls, he will not be included in the final debate between Mr. Kaine and Mr. Kilgore on Oct. 9 in Richmond.

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