For those of us who like former governor George Allen of Virginia, this is great news. Its also not terribly surprising that he leads, what is surprising is how large the lead is.
From Bearing Drift we get this take on the latest Public Policy Polling results:
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.