The only poll that matters is the one on November 6th, but the rest can sure give a sign of what’s to come.
Many polls rolled out lately show an unexplained surge for Tim Kaine in the Virginia Senate race backed by a demographic split hugely in favor of Democrats, polling them in margins greater than Republicans by up to 12% in some polls.
The internals of these polls show continued insistence that Virginia has only, approximately, a 24% Republican electorate (which is lower than California), with most polls weighing their results based on 2008’s turnout and ignoring the fact that as they survey, this race is much closer than it appears.
Last week, the George Allen campaign released their internals showing Allen with a 3 point lead  driven by a huge closing of the gap among women. While many other polls want you to believe Kaine is up by double digits, the Allen internals show a one point lead for Kaine among women. Some might dismiss this as a skewed internal poll. But other polls are coming out showing the same results.
In crosstabs released exclusively to Bearing Drift, the numbers go a long way to explaining not only the state of this race but also why Tim Kaine’s strategy is to continue to focus on social issues instead of the economy, jobs, defense cuts and more.
Tim Kaine only leads among women by one point. Not ten, not twenty, but one point. Why?
Because women, just like the general electorate, are mostly concerned about the economy.
56 percent of respondents rated the economy as their number one issue with national security rating as the second most important issue at 30 percent. Among those respondents who had a different most important issue, 23 percent still thought the economy was second most important.
These are the issues George Allen has remained focused on throughout this campaign while Tim Kaine continues to try and harp on social issues he once called ‘divisive’.
This narrow lead among women would explain why the Tim Kaine campaign and his allies have continued to harp on social issues instead of jobs. From labor unions spending $2.5 million focusing on reproductive issues (instead of, you know, labor issues) to Planned Parenthood hosting conference calls, to DPVA’s drawn out web videos to Tim Kaine’s continued hosting of women’s forums, the Kaine for Senate campaign is solely focused on anything but the economy and jobs. The Kaine campaign is trying to spin these social issues as economic issues, but it’s not working.
The other thing to note about this survey is Allen continues to outperform the top of the ticket.While Allen leads by 3, Romney is tied with President Obama. This is exactly what other polls were showing until a few weeks ago when everything changed for no epic reason whatsoever.
We Ask America and Pulse Opinion Research both polled with a +2 GOP turnout, which would be in line with recent elections in the state and any elections before 2008. Other polling firms have based their numbers by trying to stick with 2008’s turnout, which has skewed the results not only away from Republicans but from the reality on the ground.
“I think our poll shows that Virginia is now clearly established as a swing state in Presidential races that ranks it just below Ohio and Florida in national significance,” said Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring/Pulse Opinion Research. “The 2008 Presidential vote is thus an anomaly.”
But Democrats need turnout to be similar to 2008 in order to have a chance to win in Virginia and they just don’t have that same kind of enthusiasm this time around. Additionally, Republicans are more fired up this year than four years ago. The last three years have shown what Republican turnout can do in Virginia.