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Virginia Senate: Warner Widens Lead in the Old Dominion

Democrat Mark Warner has widened his lead against Republican Jim Gilmore in the race for Virginia’s senate seat. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows Warner earning 60% of the vote while Gilmore attracts 33%.

Last month, Warner enjoyed an eighteen-point lead. This represents the sixth consecutive survey to find Warner leading by double-digits, as well as his strongest lead to date. Before falling back in this survey, Gilmore had consistently polled between 37% and 39% percent. Rasmussen Markets data gives Warner an % chance of winning this race in November (results updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants).

Warner’s favorability ratings have also improved. The Democrat is viewed favorably by 70% of Virginia voters and unfavorably by 24%. Gilmore’s numbers are 46% favorable, 42% unfavorable.

The two men are competing for the Senate seat currently held by Republican John Warner (no relation to the Democratic candidate). Almost from the moment the incumbent Senator announced his retirement, the Democrats have been favored to win this race.

Virginia if far from the only state that could see a switch to a Democratic seat in senate this year. At least eight other Republican Senate seats are potentially in play for Democrats including seats in Alaska, New Hampshire, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi, Kansas, and Kentucky. So far, just two Democratic incumbents are polling below 50%--Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Frank Lautenberg in New Jersey.

Two years ago, Virginia was home to one of the biggest upsets in recent memory as incumbent Senator George Allen (R) was defeated by now Senator Jim Webb (D). Webb has been mentioned as a possible running mate to Barack Obama. The survey found that 23% of Virginia voters would be more likely to vote for Obama if that were the case, while 32% would be less likely to vote for the democrat. Just 34% believe it is at least somewhat likely that Obama will choose Webb as his running mate.

Half of Virginia’s voters (51%) give Governor Jim Kaine good or excellent ratings. Nineteen percent (19%) say he is doing a poor job as Governor. If Kaine was selected as Obama’s VP, a quarter of voters say they would be more likely to vote for the democratic candidate. Another 35% say they would be less likely to vote Obama, while 36% say it would have no impact on their decision.

The same survey found that 45% of voters think Virginia should not raise taxes in certain areas to fund road projects, while 30% take the opposite view. The majority of voters oppose paying taxes in their region to fund road projects. Opposition is stronger when voters are asked if they would like to see taxes raised for road projects in their area.

The Presidential race in Virginia is far more competitive than the Republicans would like. The Old Dominion has voted Republican in ten straight elections dating back to 1968.

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Virginia Safe Democratic

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

2002 Results

Gilmore (R)

36%

34%

84%

Warner (D)

61%

60%

16% (I)

This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on June 12, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.


Virginia Trends: Gilmore vs. Warner

Date

Gilmore

Warner

10/16/2008

36%

61%

09/25/2008

34%

60%

08/12/2008

33%

59%

07/19/2008

34%

57%

06/12/2008

33%

60%

05/08/2008

37%

55%

03/26/2008

39%

55%

02/19/2008

37%

57%

01/03/2008

38%

53%

10/30/2007

37%

53%


Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in Virginia

 

Gilmore

Warner

Very Favorable

14%

39%

Somewhat Favorable

34%

29%

Somewhat Unfavorable

21%

16%

Very Unfavorable

22%

13%

Not Sure

9%

3%


About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.