Mason-Dixon: 10 short takes

1. Virginia voters are dialing in

2. Kaine up

3. Kilgore down

4. Potts gaining, enough of a factor to worry both, Kilgore most

5. Mark Warner is dominant, and, by implication, would beat Allen (like a baby seal?) head-to-head

6. House primaries predictive, Flat-Earthers getting flattened

7. Divisive social issues (Kilgore pitch) fading, bread-n-butter government (education, transportation) to the fore

8. Voters want Potts in the debates

9. Centrism rules, radical left and right holding sucker hands

10. All the marbles still up for grabs


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  1. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Sounds about right, Barnie.

    Of course, remember the “it’s only one poll” excuse. Don’t get giddy yet.

  2. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Mason Dixon has a good track record in Virginia, so “giddy” is out of line but Kaine and Potts have every reason to feel encouraged. It’s not that Kaine is up. All the polls have him in the high 30s to 40. What this poll indicates is some slippage on Kilgore’s part, some to Potts and some to undecided. The most interesting results to me were the overwhelmingly positive “right direction” and the high approval for the Governor. It is all about the economy, stupid. I thought the D’s were making a mistake by bragging about the tax increse, but maybe not. Maybe not. Loved the quote about “we’re going to keep running like we are 10 points ahead.” If they do they deserve what is going to happen.

  3. SDH4VBT Avatar

    One in seven in the poll listed transportation as the number one issue. That has to be a first. The bandwagon that might start to grow is Virginians for Better Transportation!

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    The results that impressed me from the poll were those that showed voters largely unconcerned about “moral issues/family values.” Among the issues listed, 21 percent of respondants deemed “education/public school funding” to be the most important, followed by 17 percent for “state taxes/state spending” and 13 percent for “roads/traffic/transportation.”

    Registered voters appear to be sanguine about the economy: Only 12 percent rated “economy/jobs/growth” at the top of their list of concerns. But even that edged out moral values at 7 percent.

    I suspect that voter preoccupation with issues that have a tangible impact on their lives — schools, taxes, and roads — is responsible for Gov. Warner’s high popularity. Warner has systematically steered clear of divisive social issues and focused on schools, transportation and state finances. Although his tax increase has proven to be utterly unnecessary, the fact remains that he has focused his energies on the issues that voters think are important.

    Kaine and Kilgore need to get the hint. Most Virginia voters aren’t interested in guns, god and gays. Candidates need to focus on the practical issues.

    One last note: Kilgore could get more traction if he hit the tax issue harder. Voters rank state taxes/spending near the top of their list. Kilgore can make a strong case — which voters haven’t really absorbed yet — that the 2004 tax increases were unnecessary. Kaine will be stuck defending a position that becomes less tenable with each passing day.

  5. GOPHokie Avatar
    GOPHokie

    Jim, I dunno about god and gays, but I think guns will be a much bigger issue once the public realizes the true differences in the 2 candidates. Most people still assume Kaine is pro-gun since Warner is.
    Plus, isn’t every state election about education, transportation and spending? Thats what all the ads have been about so far.
    I think everyone agrees its going to be a close race. This poll proves it. Now maybe our people wont think Kaine’s organization is crap and think we have it in the bag. We are going to have to earn this one.

  6. Not Bob Denton Avatar
    Not Bob Denton

    I don’t sense a lot of voter anger with the tax increase out in these parts. But there is a huge “but” attached to that. People know the state is well run and that services are accounted for, now they are going to want to see investments made on their roads and in their schools with the surplus. If the voters don’t see real capital improvements soon, they will begin to really get down on the tax increase.

    Guns, gods, and gays will come back up from Kilgore’s non-affiliated PACs if the race stays close. Kilgore won’t have to raise the issue, the out of state PACs will take the shots for him.

  7. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    I trust the people. Always have, always will.

  8. Rural Not Stupid Avatar
    Rural Not Stupid

    Russ Potts at 9%! That’s it Jerry, keep acting like Russ isn’t going to be a force in this election.

  9. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Waldo, did you trust the people in the last Rasmussen poll?

  10. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Methinks y’all are reading way too much into this poll. The economy, especially the engine of the Federal Government, has improved everything politically. It mitigated the job losses the Billion dollar (net) increase in taxes produced.

    Virginians love limited government. Not ‘no’ government. If the economy is humming and there are no in-your-face issues, then all is pretty much okay.

    The social issues aren’t dead, just dormant, because none are up for a vote – unless guns become an issue passed on past records. If a social issue had a point of urgency, you can bet that 55-60% of Virginians will vote Conservative.

    Kaine has done a good job running as ‘Not a Liberal’ so there is no social issue. And, as someone above said, Mark Warner has stayed away from social issues while Gov.

    Kilgore doesn’t have a wedge issue. His transportation plan is disliked by Conservatives once they get any details. He doesn’t offer a rollback of the sales tax. His plan for merit pay for teachers bothers teachers more than it gains their support and is not a gut grabber to others. Kilgore’s property tax meddling gives no hearts the flutters, except in irritation. So, where is the beef?

    It’s not as bad as Mark Earley yet. I understand, second hand, that Jerry did very well in his one on one debate. If there is a wedge difference on transportation, taxes and education, then I have yet to see it. Unless there is one, then the election may come down to campaign mechanics – turn out – rather than issues or candidates. TBD.

  11. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    The hyperventilating over the surplus is just that. It is not a negative. Revenues are up because people are making–and spending more money–a good thing. The National Governors Association reports that 42 states posted surpluses–driven mostly by corporate profits, a hot housing market, rising retail sales, and increases in personal income, a big part of that being capital gains. Let those who will run against this as being somehow “bad” for Virginia. Most folks know better, knowledge, I think, reflected in this latest M-D poll.

  12. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    Waldo, did you trust the people in the last Rasmussen poll?

    Of course. I’ve always trusted the people. I always will stand up for the people. This poll is a poll that works, because this poll involves the people. I think we need to trust the people before we ask them to vote. I trust the people when it comes to polls. At the end of the day, I will trust the people. The people will make the right choices. I trust the people, you don’t. I want them involved, you think they’re an angry mob.

    Trust the people, Will.

  13. Not Larry Sabato Avatar
    Not Larry Sabato

    Let me mention another topic.

    The LG and AG candidates have no name rec at all so far except in their home areas. Those results will be close and won’t mean anything.

    But with Kaine/Potts leading Kilgore 47-37, could either Byrne or Deeds ask for a better electorate once people know who they are?

    We’re predicting in this poll Bolling leads by 3 and McDonnell leads by 1, but the electorate is well set up for Byrne and Deeds when people know who is who.

    This also applies to Democratic House candidates. This may be the big story of the Potts campaign on the day after the election, kicking downballot races to Democrats.

  14. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Barnie, I can’t recall a single person who’s said that the surplus is “bad” for Virginia. What people have said is that the surplus is ample proof that the 2004 tax increase was unnessary and that a portion of the surplus should be returned, somehow, to the taxpayers.

  15. Laszlo Avatar

    “Your’re a good looking boy: you’ve big broad shoulders. But Kaine’s a man. And it takes more than big, broad shoulders to make a man.” Helen Rameriz, High Noon 1952

  16. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    We’re predicting in this poll Bolling leads by 3 and McDonnell leads by 1, but the electorate is well set up for Byrne and Deeds when people know who is who.

    Are you kidding me? These precise poll numbers were given to the media today, embargoed until tomorrow.

    “We’re predicting?” C’mon. Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

  17. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    I guess that answers the question of whether NLS is media or not…

  18. GOPHokie Avatar
    GOPHokie

    NLS, if the LG and AG races have no name recognition except in their home ares, why sin’t McDonnell destroying Deeds so far? The Virginia Beach Republican Party probably has more people than Bath County has residents.
    Also, since when is Kaine-Potts a ticket? Are we assuming all the voters for Potts will invariably vote Dem in HOD races? I’m not sure I understand how Potts drawing 9% statewide hurts us in HOD races. I also wish we had a better breakdown of where Potts’ numbers were and what the party breakdowns were by region. I still say most of his GOP votes will come from Winchester, Frederick, Clarke and Faquier.

  19. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    I guess that answers the question of whether NLS is media or not…

    Well, give it until tomorrow. Maybe, by some remarkable coincidence, I’ve been steered wrong by my source, which is precisely the same as the figures in question, and we’re all wrong.

  20. Chris Porter Avatar
    Chris Porter

    “why sin’t McDonnell destroying Deeds so far? The Virginia Beach Republican Party probably has more people than Bath County has residents.”

    Creigh Deeds’ base is in Charlottesville.

  21. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    The tax increase was necessary. The only reason we have a surplus is because of inconsistent sources of revenue that can fluctuate wildly with the economy. We have already earmarked everything for the surplus and we need more money if we want to fix education and transportation. Returning the money so someone could buy an appliance is nice but it is not as worthwhile as using the revenue to fix roads and schools.

  22. JamesRiverGOP Avatar
    JamesRiverGOP

    What’s especially surprising about the poll is that Kaine is running well in Southside, a rural area where Kilgore should have about a 3-5 point lead.

    Kaine’s showing is propably owed to two things. First, Warner’s overall popularity, an amazing 74% statewide. And, second, Warner’s specific popularity in Southside, where he’s paid very close attention to the economic development needs of the region and has scored some successes.

    Kilgore needs to spend time in Southside keying in on economic issues. He’s already got this conservative area on social issues, but he can close the gap and take the lead reginonally if he promotes an economic development program that folks can buy.

  23. Not Larry Sabato Avatar
    Not Larry Sabato

    Hampton Roads going for Byrne/McDonnell and Roanoke/SW going for Kilgore/ tie for LG were the big surprises.

    No one is shocked that Metro Richmond is going Kaine/Bolling. That’s home bases.

  24. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Of course, Anonymous 5:11, you are assuming that the only way to improve Virginia’s educational and transportation systems is through spending more money. At some point, more money may be required. But as long as funds are just gushing in, there is no pressure to find any other kind of solution — no restructuring, no re-engineering, no rethinking of priorities, no hard choices. Everyone in the private sector knows they have to reinvent themselves continuously. For reasons that are incomprehensible to me, there exists a legion of apologists for the status quo wh insist upon exempting government from the rigors of managing change. Raise taxes and everyone will be comfy — except, of course, the taxpayer.

  25. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Jim, the people disagree with you. It’s time to get over it. Do you really have to complain in a thread about a great poll for Tim that the voters are wrong? You have more class than that (I think).

  26. Rural Not Stupid Avatar
    Rural Not Stupid

    GOPHokie, It doesn’t matter how many people live in Bath, or in VA Beach for that matter. The state is far to large for that to be the deciding factor. Deeds is the strongest Dem on the ticket. He is going to pull tons of GOP votes in the valley and SW. McDonnell isn’t a strong enough candidate to hold onto the usual republican votes. He’ll keep most of Pat Robertsons supporters. But the Good Ol’ Boy (and Girl) voters who are worried about their second amendment rights will turn to Deeds.

  27. Salt Lick Avatar
    Salt Lick

    “Returning the money so someone could buy an appliance is nice but it is not as worthwhile as using the revenue to fix roads and schools.’

    I really hope Kaine uses that as a campaign slogan.

  28. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    “Returning the money so someone could buy an appliance is nice but it is not as worthwhile as using the revenue to fix roads and schools.”

    Translation: You may think you really need a new washing machine, but you don’t need it nearly as badly as some politician wants a bypass around his town, or some school official wants to beef up his administrative staff.

  29. Don’t underestimate the gun grabbing issue in the AG race. McDonnell is a gun grabber, Deeds got an A from the NRA.

  30. Rural Not Stupid Avatar
    Rural Not Stupid

    I agree Paul. Has anyone heard who the NRA endorsed in this race? “Gun-Rationer” McDonnell would have a rough ride ahead if they endorse Deeds.

  31. GOPHokie Avatar
    GOPHokie

    The NRA did not endorse anyone in the primaries (for the AG race) and will probably not make their general election endorsements until Spetember or October. McDonnell has gotten an A- every time he ran for HOD so its hard to say what the NRA will do. I agree McDonnell will have a tough time if Deeds is endorsed by the NRA. I was saying that if the only strong areas for the AG candidates was their home areas, McDonnell should be winning by much more right now. I didn’t mean that would hold true until the end.

  32. Salt Lick Avatar
    Salt Lick

    “You may think you really need a new washing machine, but you don’t need it nearly as badly as some politician…”

    Your problem, Jim, is that you trust the people while me and Anonymous trust the government — always have, always will.

  33. Virginia Centrist Avatar
    Virginia Centrist

    From the Virginia Gun Owners Coalition:

    -Voted for Doug Wilder’s gun rationing scheme called one gun-a-month
    -Voted to ban concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol so that criminals can steal our guns in the parking lot while we remain defenseless.
    -Voted against the repeal of the ban on concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. (This was the real test of whether he wanted to turn his anti-gun voting record around.)
    -Voted against the constitutional right to hunt and fish.
    -Sponsored a few fringe and very minor pro-gun reform bills in the last few years to cover up his anti-gun record.
    -Added insult to injury by refusing to answer the VGOC Gun Rights Candidate Survey.

    This Bob McDonnell is telling us he has an “A” rating from the NRA.

    If that is true the NRA manager who gave him that rating was either smoking dope or is a mole from Sarah Brady’s Anti-Gun organization.

    McDonnell has received a D rating from VGOC

  34. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    I could really use a washing machine.

    You know, as long as we’re on the topic.

  35. Chris Porter Avatar
    Chris Porter

    VGOC is out there. They think Clarke Hogan is anti-gun.

  36. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Kilgore’s campaign is running like it’s 10 points down? I suppose if you mean in out-of-state fundraising and number of worried press releases put out. As far as actually doing anything, I’ve not seen much actual activity. Local Republican parties in my area are all about McDonnell (more volunteers, more enthusiasm, more work): Kilgore is a grumpy afterthought. Their “soooo many festivals covered!” on the 4th weekend amounted to the local chairs putting out some Kilgore lawn signs on the highway, only to have the police remove them and fine the party.

    If Potts gets really desperate when he realizes he can’t win and goes negative on Kilgore over some of the stuff that has Republicans wringing their hands behind closed doors, Kaine won’t even have to bother with much more than pushing the strong Warner association. Potts may not take many votes from Kilgore, but he can churn up plenty of negative press without dirtying Kaine’s hands at all.

  37. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    “If Potts gets really desperate when he realizes he can’t win and goes negative on Kilgore…”

    If Potts gets desperate???? Potts knows he can’t win. His whole campaign is based solely on going negative on Kilgore. He’s a bitter man on a mission to defeat Jerry Kilgore or haven’t you been watching? He’s even changed his position on every issue in order to do so.

    “…over some of the stuff that has Republicans wringing their hands behind closed doors…”

    Just what stuff are you referring to? I’d certainly like to know. Is there some secret that Potts has on the RPVA that he hasn’t already blasted over the airwaves of the willing MSM?

    “…Potts may not take many votes from Kilgore, but he can churn up plenty of negative press without dirtying Kaine’s hands at all.”

    Ahh… You demonstrate the conspiracy has been established and you didn’t even know it. Potts is Kaine’s attack dog! I wonder what Kaine’s paying him to do all this?

  38. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    This thread is ended! Get a life, people!

  39. Ha HA HA ha

  40. Barnie- GET IN THE SENATE RACE NOW.

  41. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    SO far as I can remember from other polls, this poll shows that Kaine is still mired in the 30s. He has never polled anywhere close to 50%.

    The only thing “good” in this poll for Kaine is that Potts got 9%. But before you say that’s good for Potts, “Don’t KNow” seems to have beat Potts by a large margin (16% don’t know).

    I’d be curious to see the actual wording of the poll, to make some sense of how “don’t know” got so much larger than all the other polls. Maybe they didn’t list party affiliation?

    But I hope that democrats give this polls as much weight as they did the exit polls from last november. If Kaine gets the message that his current tactics are working, it will be a good thing for the republicans.

  42. Last anonymous:

    Don’t know scores high because Mason Dixon does not push their leaners and because many haven’t ever heard of Kaine or Kilgore.

    Of course the poll used party ID. All polls use party ID.

    Kilgore is “mired” in the 30s in this poll as well.

  43. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Potts will get desperate because right now he honestly seems to think he can win. Reality will set in eventually.

    Kilgore is a scandal waiting to happen. That’s why even the party faithful that know about him in Richmond are not exactly thrilled to have him be the front-runner. He’s a liability on an otherwise very strong Republican ticket (unless Deeds manages to get the NRA endorsement).

    And I don’t think Potts is under anyone’s control. He’s a goofball with no consistency and no money. If Mickey Mouse were on the ballot the fictional character would get as many votes as Potts just because people like to fancy themselves sophisticated indepedents.

  44. Laszlo Avatar

    It’s over for Kilgore. At least he will not have to debate now. Kaine and Potts on stage for the final run. An amazing turn of events. Let’s enjoy the AG and Lt G races. That is where the action will be.

  45. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Anon 11:16

    “Kilgore is a scandal waiting to happen.”

    This is something I haven’t heard before. That and the earlier posting makes me think you are trying to say there are skeletons in his closet to yet be released. Just what are they? I am fairly knowledgable of GOP politics in VA and have not heard an inkling of anything. Just what are you insinuating about Kilgore?

    “He’s (Potts) a goofball with no consistency and no money. If Mickey Mouse were on the ballot the fictional character would get as many votes as Potts just because people like to fancy themselves sophisticated indepedents.”

    This is probably the best explanation I’ve heard yet of Potts’ standing in the polls. Vote Mickey! Hehe…

  46. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    I’m not a paid professional political advisor, campaigner, or office holder. However, in my brief personal interactions with Mr. Kilgore I have found him to be rather empty in terms of presence and grasp of policy. The guy may be kevlar for campaigning statewide, but I think he may have the least impressive outward representation of intellect of anyone in politics that I have encountered who is not a standing member of the House of Delegates.

    I’m really not trying to be funny, but I have a dog who gives me the same looks I get from Kilgore when I ask him a very basic question on local government.

    Very real question – does Jerry have the intelligence necessary to handle the gig he is interviewing to get?

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