PPP: Allen 67%, Marshall 7%, Radtke 4%

You can almost hear the disappointment in the Public Policy Polling voice:

There are plenty of establishment Republicans who need to worry about primary challenges from the Tea Party next year but George Allen doesn’t appear to be one of them.


The numbers surprisingly show Allen with a massive, commanding lead of 67%.  More surprising, Prince William Delegate Bob Marshall outpaces all other contenders at 7%, while Tea Party organizer Jamie Radtke, Prince William Supervisor Corey Stewart, and newly announced lawyer David McCormick all trail near the margins of error.

Here’s another neat tidbit from the poll:

What’s more telling is that only 25% of Republicans prefer a generic ‘more conservative’ challenge to Allen, while 52% stick with the former Senator. That’s better than most long time GOP politicians are faring against hypothetical foes to the right- before he retired we found Jon Kyl under 50% against a ‘more conservative’ alternative and Bob Corker actually trails a generic challenger to his right. So for Allen to have a 27 point lead on that measure is significant.

So while the charges against Allen for “not being conservative enough” are sticking, conservatives are staying loyal to Allen.  PPP chalks this up to name ID, but Virginia insiders will tell you this is because Republicans remember the George Allen of ’93.

Here’s another kicker:  Marshall and Radtke both share comparable name ID in Virginia (low to mid 20s), and Marshall beats Radtke practically 2-1… if the difference between 7% and 4% is really a gap.

Of course, this is still very early on in the race, with no candidate really pushing hard against Allen at the moment or raising a tremendous amount of money.  Still, when you’re staring down a 60pt gap, a hungry frontrunner with a skilled staff, and a Republican base that is standing by Allen… there is nothing but steep uphill running for the challengers.

PPP also mentions that Huckabee is currently the state favorite with 20% of Republican primary voters backing him.  Romney, Palin, and Gingrich finish out the lead pack, with numbers in the mid-teens.

  • You beat me to it, glad I checked first haha

  • Steve Vaughan

    I’m not sure that’s all that surprising. Looking at the 2010 elections, it’s pretty clear that the Tea Party in Virginia was much weaker than it was in other states. No Republican incumbent faced a serious Tea Party challenge for their nomination. And the Tea Party candidates for the open 5th District seat were beaten soundly by the establishment candidate.

  • Red Baron

    This isn’t a big shock to me.George Allen will win the primary easily.The Tea Party might be strong in some places but they are weak as water in Va.

  • It is interesting to note that the Tea Party is dominating the field everywhere… except Virginia.

    Also interesting to note that conservatives are not walking away from George Allen in droves. In fact, they’re hunkering down and supporting their guy.

    The shock is that Allen holds such as commanding lead… Hurt picked up the nomination on a plurality as did Rigell, and with strong candidates to contest the nomination. Thing is — this isn’t VA-02 much less VA-05… Allen is practically an institution.

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  • Steve Vaughan

    I think it’s Allen in a walk in a primary. That doesn’t mean, given his baggage, that he’s the best possible Republican candidate in a general. But the best possible Republican candidate in the general election is busy being governor.

  • Hmmmmm- as with any polling, one needs to ask: who was polled? How were the questions worded? Did they ask about his performance as senator? If the question was: “Are you comfortable or uncomfortable with George Allen’s support of 40,000 earmarks during his term as senator”, or asking about his support for hate crimes legislation- what would his support be then?

  • Red Baron

    Why not just ask who will you vote for in the primary. Karen George Allen has this race in the bag.

  • John Jackson

    Wasn’t Trey Grayson, Mike Castle and Charlie Christ shoe-ins. Actually, Charlie Christ was the Republican poster child. Hum? I wouldn’t start measuring the drapes quite yet.

  • kelley in virginia

    let’s get rid of Webb. Then let’s focus on defeating Mark Warner. focus.

  • First, the money issue isn’t true. Jamie Radtke did raised $100k in Dec. Significant amount and somebody must believe in her.

    Secondly, in addition to already mentioned examples, the lead Mary Sue Terry had in a general comes to mind. This election isn’t even until November 2012. Plenty of time to raise more money and increase name ID.

    Lastly, Allen’s negatives will increase dramatically before this is over.

  • Steve Vaughan

    kelley: Um, I think Webb already got rid of himself.

  • Valentinus

    Allen’s negatives are already well known unlike the others so I don’t get that point. Allen would have had trouble in a rematch with Webb simply because inertia almost always favors the previous winner. With Webb gone, I think fewer Repubs have concerns about renominating Allen.

  • Yes, Jamie’s sitting on $100K, but right now she’s polling no better than she would as an independent in the general. Even with the money, that can’t inspire much future confidence.

  • Valentinius, the negatives are not well known by a large number of people. They will be.

    Even that interview with Kavuto has Allen trying to humanize himself and connect with the “everyman” by pointing to his daughter going to college and all the “diminished opportunity” . Then he(Kavuto) instinctively calls out Allen for trying connect “diminished opportunity” to the daughter of former Governor and Senator George Allen. Then he tries to back off like he was joking, but the point was made. Allen looked like a fake and a sterotypical politician.

    Allen spoke of pressuring to PASS a budget. With the threat of losing money, you might be more willing to cave into a seriously bad budget. They don’t have problems passing things and apparently Allen has no problem coming up with empty populist platitudes. Radtke in her interview spoke of cuts and balancing the budget. Not just passing something. There isn’t just Allen’s record, his Macaca, confedreate flags, and nooses hanging at his office. He’ll give us new stuff.

    Coby, that is what campaigns are all about. Allen people are leaving him to join her team. I think there is a little bit more than $100 k to think about.

  • I would imagine most Republicans feel like George Allen got a bad deal in the last election and didn’t run from him in droves. He did lose the middle, but it is clear he could get them back if he can tap into the frustration that voters have shown in recent years (we may not have had the Tea Party, but the 2009 election could be a precursor). Because of these details, he is as good as an incumbent right now. If anyone else wants to win the primary, I agree with Valentinus. It is a waste of time right now focusing on his negatives; good candidates will have to show how they will exceed any expectations that could be placed on George Allen through their own positives.

  • D.J. Spiker

    I’m baffled at the ignorance in the polling questions suggested in these comments.

    Hates crimes legislation? 40,000 earmarks?

    Those push-poll questions might play well in 7% circles but a polling firm like PPP doesn’t resort to cheap polling tricks. What kind of person involved in politics would ever suggest such a poorly worded polling question?

    Who was polled? Read the crosstabs.

    Jamie raised $100,000, maxed out early donors, has had a three and a half month roll out, recruited the foundations of a Senate team, been on tv, meetings and events non-stop…and gets 7%. That’s a massive body blow. Scarier is she’s already upside down on her favorables.

    Impressive than David McCormick is already polling at 3%, tip of the hat there.

    This poll should keep Marshall, Mizusawa and Stewart out of the race…and if it doesn’t, it should.

  • CR, I am sure that is your preference that George Allen’s negatives not be paid attention too. You know the Democrats won’t be so kind. Republicans might as well face all the baggage that Allen brings with him trying to retake the job Virginians fired him from.

    Everyone is already attacking Radtke. Playing defense all day will get her nowhere.

  • D.J. Spiker

    Britt, I agree with your first point, but Radtke has completely changed her game plan for a reason. The first three months was all ‘Allen this, Allen that’, and you can the see the effect in the cross tabs. Despite only 25% name ID, she’s already viewed more negatively than favorably.

    Jamie needs to put together a positive message as she works the state. Yes she’s running against Allen, but until people know her they won’t vote for her. She has to lay the foundation over the next nine months positively before she can go on any offensive.

  • Allens lips move and I hear what he says but his actions are not in sync with what he says.. Says X, does Y. George talks about being a conservative and George talks about being limited government.. then George voted for no child left behind, medicare part D. And George did zip to stem the growth of the US govt during his tenure as a senator.

    All those years in football paid off, he knows how to coach and lead a cheer for the home team though and maybe that is all you people care about.

  • “With Webb gone, I think fewer Repubs have concerns about renominating Allen.” Valentinus, Allen will pledge his commitment to a balanced budget, reducing spending and reducing the debt.. platitudus maximus Deja Vu all over again. So, he will be different this time right?

    Some Allen supporters remind me of Wiley E. Coyote trusting the safety of their future with yet another fine product of the famed ACME company.

  • Temporary

    I think this early the polling is all about name recognition, how many voters even know who Jamie Radtke is ? Yes, her name has appeared in print a few times, and you probably know who she is because you have been paying close attention, but does your aunt know who Jamie Radtke is, do your cousins know ? No, not yet, and why would they ? It’s March of 2011 and very few people are even paying attention to the race.

    I think that Ms. Radtke’s numbers are going to go up once people start seeing the inevitable commercials of her organizing the Tea Party convention, going out to speak, standing with lots of Tea Party folk around her, etc, those are images that none of the GOP contenders can match. The challenge for Ms. Radtke’s campaign is simply to let everyone who generally supports the Tea Party know that, hey, the Tea Party has at least one candidate, and her name is Jamie Radtke and she is running for the U.S. Senate. People just haven’t heard about her yet, it’s early.

  • kelley in virginia

    oops, Steve. you are so right. Webb is already gone. whew. thanks for helping me.

  • Temporary

    Addition to my last post, I asked “how many voters even know who Jamie Radtke is ?”

    The answer was also in the poll results, only 21% of Virginia Republicans even know the name. I don’t think 4% is too bad for someone that only 1 in 5 Republicans is even aware of, that means that among Republicans who know the name Jamie Radtke she polled 20%.

    What kind of numbers will Ms. Radtke have when 5 out of 5 Republicans know who she is ? No doubt her numbers will be a lot better than 4%.

  • Dj, I do agree that Radtke has to build positives as well as name ID. I disagree that she was on much of an offensive at all. She was critical of Allen when making various points, yes, but hardly an offensive. She HAS been on TV and meetings etc trying to build that name recognition. More of that does need to happen.

    Her negatives probably are up. The Allen camp is bashing her. The supporters of other candidates aren’t even looking at Allen yet, they’re attacking Jamie Radtke. They’re doing that for a reason. Nothing surprising.

  • If I was a liberal I would want the public to buy into the PPP spin.. http://hrblogs.typepad.com/files/2012polling.pdf

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  • D.J. Spiker


    If Radtke’s commericals are highlighting exclusively her Tea Party background, she may as well drop out now. Because the voters in the primary don’t care about the Tea Party convention, or Tea Party rallies. They want to see one on one grassroots connections, Americana apple pie goodness.

    You cannot run as a Tea Party candidate in Virginia. Everyone who has done so has failed thus far. There’s no reason to believe that 2012 would be any different. You must appeal beyond the Tea Party base, and that’s exactly why George Allen is at 67% in this absurdly early poll. It might be funny after his Senate record, but when George Allen says, he was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party, to many in the Republican Party of Virginia, it’s true.

  • “It might be funny after his Senate record, but when George Allen says, he was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party, to many in the Republican Party of Virginia, it’s true.”

    George misses the capitol playground. THAT is why he is selfishly running. He betrayed Virginians who were angry about his weakness for helping serve his supporters easy mean green and exhibited a lack of discipline that makes many dems blush. Our trusty republican former governor was front and center pushing the lever for more spending and expanded government. Yes I’ll say it.. George Allen is lieing to us, he failed to consistently uphold fiscally conservative principles when it came time to vote.

    Enough with professional politicians. What else has Allen done other than play football?

  • Tea Party before there was one? What a load of manure! He was great as governor, but in the US Senate he was anything but Tea Party. He certainly isn’t now.

    Although DJ and others poo poo the Tea Party more than reality dictates, they are completely right on one thought. Tea Party votes are not enough. Broader coalitions need to be built, but she should run as Tea Party at the same time. Tea Party is synonymous with opposing the Obama agenda.

    Exactly why poser Allen claims to be Tea Party at all.

  • Temporary


    If Virginia Republicans really wanted to see grassroots they would have held a convention instead of a primary, but they didn’t have the BALLS for it.

    There I said it.

    They were afraid of what might happen at that convention if the Tea Party folks showed up with their own candidates, so they’re going to let the Tea Party pound sand.

    I think the GOP missed an opportunity.

  • Temporary

    I should add to the above that I don’t mean the normal Republican convention, of course, but something more open with real opportunities for everyone to get together and sort it all out.

  • Temporary,
    Your last two comments are counter-intuitive, and moot anyway.

    1) It’s laughable when you say the process needs to be more restrictive (a convention), but can’t be done in a way that Tea Partiers can’t overrun it. Huh? Start joining unit committees and get involved. That’s where you start the process of change.
    2) You’ve got a primary. Talk of convention is moot.

    In fairness, these numbers don’t necessary paint the entire picture. It is clear that Radtke made a tactical mistake in not developing her name ID over the past two months since she announced, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change over the next few months.

    With both Marshall and Radtke having only 20% and 17% respectively of Republican voters knowing enough about either of them to have formed an opinion, we’re still a long way from figuring out what’s going to happen in this rodeo.

    Yet, the more candidates who do enter the race, the happier George Allen will be.

  • Ben

    The election is over a year away. Though interesting, this poll as no substance to the debate at all. Only political nerds like us will ever see it. This is not a game-changer.

  • Ben

    this poll “HAS”… sorry for the typo

  • D.J. Spiker

    Turbo and Britt,

    I’m talking about Allen’s gubernatorial record. It’s his record as governor that the majority involved and in RPV that endears him to so many people. Look at that record and see, as Turbo says, what has he done besides play football. There’s plenty.

    George Allen and his wife jump-started the conservative movement in Virginia and rebuilt RPV from the ground up. This has earned them mountains of respect from the party faithful, and it’s for this reason he’s polling at 60% a year out. They’re not dissatisfied with him.

    I’m all for his Senate record being fair game, as it should be obviously, but understand his Senate record is not going to resonate with the party base. If the thought process is ‘we’ll win by pointing out his fallacies in the Senate’ it’s a losing battle. Too many people owe their political careers and the Republican resurgence to GFA. Those are the people voting in the primary.

    Temporary, I wanted a convention. I lost. No sense crying over spilled milk.

  • D.J. Spiker


    It’s not a game changer, not a year out, but it does add significantly. As I said above, this poll should keep Marshall, Mizusawa and Stewart out of the race, and if it doesn’t it should. This poll and its crosstabs show exactly the massive uphill battle it would take to win the nomination. If I’m Bert Mizusawa or Bob Marshall, am I really going to throw away $5 – $10 million in a futile attempt to win a seat? Stewart is trying to raise name ID for a Lieutenant Governor run, so he has another reason to waste time doing battle, but this poll should give second thoughts to a lot of candidates, including Jamie Radtke.

  • Lauren Yoder

    Unless another of the big dogs ( Bolling, Cuccinelli ect) git into the race it is Allens to lose. This poll only proves that voters expect him to win and are not actively looking for another candidate. The tea party wasn’t strong enough to nominate congressional candidates in the 9th, 5th or 2nd districts. I suspect they are weaker in most of the other parts of the state. To win this nomination candidates are going to have to win a large portion of traditional Republicans. I’m willing to bet the total “tea party” votes in this primary will be less then 25%. While multiple candidates are fighting over that 25% Allen is going to be winning the majority of the rest. I agree with DJ, some of these candidates would be wise not to embarrass themselves.

  • Lauren Yoder

    *get* the hillbilly in me coming out I guess

  • The problem is DJ., that he is running to return to the US Senate and it will be his record in the Senate that will be judged. As will the fact that he was fired and replaced with a Democrat…………………by Virginians.

    If he wants to run on his record as Governor, let him run for Governor!

  • D.J. Spiker


    I’m not debating the merits of one record vs the other; on the contrary as I said his record is a part of the discussion. My point is that the majority of the Republican base reveres because of what he accomplished as Governor. While you and others may feel that’s what he’ll be judged on, this poll and other statistics are showing that it’s only a sliver of what he’s being judged on.

    I’m strictly attempting to bring insight from the Republican party and the base, people who will be voting in the primary, not debate the merits of one versus the other.

    This seat has been Allen’s for the taking in those circles, that hasn’t changed. It’s been that way since the day after the election to many in the Republican Party of Virginia. It’s up to everyone else to make that not happen, and saying ‘40,000 earmarks’ and ‘hate crimes legislation’ isn’t going to cut it.

  • Steve Vaughan

    I think a more interesting poll would be one that tested a more serious opposition candidate.

    By that I mean one who wasn’t using a U.S. Senate race as a political coming out party.

    If one of the GOP congressmen — Forbes, Goodlatte or Wittman being the most likely — got into the race, would that take traditional “regular Republican” votes away from Allen? I’d think that it would.

    Any of those three would likely be a stronger general election candidate than Allen, as of course would Gov. McDonnell.

    Doesn’t look like this will happen. Wittman sent up a trial balloon a couple of weeks ago, but it didn’t make much of a dent.

  • D.J. Spiker

    Steven, 100% agree

  • DJ, I wasn’t saying he hasn’t built something for himself while governor. Just saying his Senate record will be taken to the woodshed. I am also not saying that pointing to the obvious will be enough. We kinda agree there. Just saying that record will definitely play an obvious part.

    Steve, there have been plenty of past candidates with little experience taking huge bold steps. One is our current president. If community organizer Obama can make it, so can Jamie Radtke of the Tea Party variety of organizers.

    Further, I would much rather chance it with an activist coming from an organization dedicated to fiscal conservatism than a proven disappointment like George Allen who has already been fired by Virginians. No doubt Democrats will be echoing the “fired for a reason” sentiment.

  • Jay D

    DJ –“This poll should keep Marshall, Mizusawa and Stewart out of the race…and if it doesn’t, it should.” You’re kidding, right? Or on the Allen payroll??? 🙂

    PPP confirmed the already known:
    -George Allen begins in great shape – with statewide name recognition. (Duh!)
    -Allen’s conservative credentials are in order, today.

    Look at the numbers –74/78% of the 400 polled – have NO CLUE who or what a Marshall/Radtke is.

    “Q6 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Bob Marshall?
    11% Favorable…………..
    14% Unfavorable………..
    74% Not sure…………….
    Q7 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Jamie Radtke?
    8% Favorable…………..
    13% Unfavorable………..
    78% Not sure……………. “


    Calling the game ‘over’ this far out is either silly, disingenuous or just plain dumb – PPP produced a baseline of where 400 “usual Virginia Republican primary voters” are today.

  • Unfortunately, the establishment Republicans neither can nor want to do what it would take to address the profound problems facing America, and the same goes for such “tea party” in the name only personalities as Jamie Radtke, badly lacking in understanding of the problem, in independence, and courage. Bob Marshall is the only potential Republican candidate for Senate in Virginia of whom I am aware that is a man for the job.

  • D.J. Spiker

    Jacob, that’s hilarious. Go into stand up.

    Jay D, if I were Allen’s payroll I would be encouraging them to get into the race, not saying they shouldn’t. The more people in the race, the more diluted the voter pool and easier the race is for Allen.

  • sara

    I have to smile at Brit’s comparison of Jamie Radtke to Obama, as two people with little experience taking “huge bold steps.”

    Oh, that’s just so rich.

  • Had an interesting conversation about you this am up here near DC.. Sara, do you think you could mention anything more negative about the woman who cleaned up the mess at RTP? If Obama is the Chosen One sent to save the world, what is Allen and what is Radtke?

  • Lol, Sara, the charge was made and Jamie doesn’t have previous experience in elected office. There is no denying that. So rather than deny the truth, I returned an example pointed toward Steve’s side of the political spectrum. Of course Jamie Radtke does have a lot of political experience, still, she never held public office. There are more examples beyond Obama. You have to admit that he was the obvious and big example to point out for a Democrat leveling that charge. Yes, I even found the comparison humorous.

    As an aside, Sara, we may be on different sides on this US Senate race, but I would like to thank you for your efforts in the beginnings of the Tea Party movement. Some are assigning you blame for past issues. I don’t know the truth or the details about that, just that if you can be blamed rightly or wrongly, you must have been heavily involved when we needed the average citizen to stand up against intrusive government and fiscal ruin. When you start something new, there are bound to be mistakes. In any organization, egos all around have to be dealt with. Starting something like a Tea Party organization on any level is a bold and noble step to take. Sometimes getting it started alone more than compensates for later mistakes. None of us is perfect and again, I don’t know if you did anything wrong. Regardless, and this temporary difference between us aside, I want to sincerely thank you personally as well as other Tea Party organizers for standing up to make a difference.

    All that said, Jamie is very capable and has obvious organizational skills. Her Tea Party background is at least brand evidence of how she will act in the Senate. I am more than happy to take a chance with someone like Jamie Radtke than re-hire a previously “let go” disappointment like George Allen.

  • sara

    @Turbo, not sure. Maybe. We’ll see.

    Brit, just exactly what are you referring to?

  • Sara, do you mean past issues regarding the Tea Party that have been posted here and I’ve heard about?

    Really, I was being sincere. I see some personal attacks against you. I would rather not join in or even repeat them. You can reread past comments if you like.

    I don’t see the value in it. You want a different candidate, that is your right. I was just sincerely thanking you and all other Tea Party organizers for efforts made. I was also trying to acknowledge that starting a group or movement is no easy undertaking.

    I’m also saying that just because I am supporting Jamie, that doesn’t mean I approve of some of the personal tactics.

  • sara

    Thanks Brit. I appreciate it. I know we have a lot of mutual friends so I’m sure we’ll meet sometime.

  • D.J.,

    You may find what I said above funny, and I find some of the positions you advance on BD pathetic — even as to your reasons for opposing Jamie Radtke, for whom neither of us has much respect.

    No honest person that has any brains can argue that the establishment Republicans have not been, along with the establishment Democrats, at the forefront of driving America where it is today, with the fundamental metrics of liberty and republicanism in the gutter. I know you are not so stupid as to truly believe that getting us out of this mess is a job for the same kinds.

    Where has George Allen come out and repudiated his party for the decades-long corrupt practices? Where has he gone on record enunciating new messages and a new vision? What reason do we have to believe he is a reformed Republican? Everything I have seen from him sounds just as everything I have seen from Radtke, a replay of the tired Republican talking points. Both are at best clueless of what it would take to turn the country around, and neither has the guts to go out on the limb for their country by confronting the massive corruption that is eating it alive.

    I have disagreed with Bob Marshall on a number of important issues, yet endorse him eagerly because he has demonstrated the qualities that are absolutely necessary in the types of leaders that may still have a chance to help turn America around, namely wisdom, commitment to the founding principles, and courage. I do not believe Bob Marshall would be bought by the special interests on his key convictions, and I do not need to tell you what I think of Radtke and Allen on this score.

  • Jay D

    FWIW … sure, BD is an opinion blog (as opposed to a news source) and it’s unfair to hold bloggers & commenters to the same standards (for truth and accuracy). Nonetheless, it’s a staggering, beyond belief stretch to interpret these numbers into an ‘odds for win’ outcome.

    PPP ran a benchmark poll – nothing more/ nothing less – designed to ascertain candidates’ starting positions BEFORE any campaigning takes place.

    -Science is the most reliable way of gaining knowledge.
    -Polling is a scientific process.
    -The key to good science is you DON’T cherry pick data (like Shaun did) and you DO separate data analysis from the politics.

    When politics and ideology influence scientific argument, people loose confidence in the source – especially when it’s so exaggerated it isn’t true. Waaaaay too early in the season, IMO, to start the spinning.

    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” ~ Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  • Can someone in the know comment please on the size and type of BD readership?

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