Polls: Rom­ney-mcdon­nell ticket loses state

Gov­er­nor’s high ap­proval no help vs. Obama

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - BY DAVID SHERFINSKI

RICH­MOND | The rule for se­lect­ing a vice-pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate is akin to the prin­ci­pal pre­cept of med­i­cal ethics: First, do no harm. Should Re­pub­li­can front-run­ner Mitt Rom­ney pick Virginia Gov. Bob Mcdon­nell as his run­ning mate, “no harm” might be about all he can ex­pect.

Add Mr. Mcdon­nell to a GOP ticket fea­tur­ing Mr. Rom­ney in a matchup against Mr. Obama and Vice Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Bi­den, and Mr. Obama would win Virginia, 50 per­cent to 43 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to a Quin­nip­iac Univer­sity poll re­leased Tues­day. The re­sult is vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal to the 50-per­cent-to-42per­cent edge Mr. Obama holds over the Re­pub­li­can front-run­ner with­out the pop­u­lar Virginia gov­er­nor as a hy­po­thet­i­cal run­ning mate.

“What this Quin­nip­iac Univer­sity sur­vey finds is that, de­spite the gov­er­nor’s ap­proval rat­ings with Virginia vot­ers, he does not ap­pear to help give the GOP the state’s elec­toral votes,” said Peter A. Brown, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of the Quin­nip­iac Univer­sity Polling In­sti­tute.

To be sure, vot­ers ap­prove of how Mr. Mcdon­nell is han­dling his job as the com­mon­wealth’s chief ex­ec­u­tive. His ap­proval rat­ings in Quin­nip­iac polls have hov­ered be­tween 55 per­cent and 62 per­cent since June, set­tling at 58 per­cent in a poll re­leased last month.

But the cool at­ti­tude to­ward a po­ten­tial slot on the ticket mir­rors a poll from the Demo­cratic-lean­ing Public Pol­icy Polling firm in De­cem­ber. Forty­five per­cent of vot­ers ap­proved of Mr. Mcdon­nell’s job per­for­mance in that poll, com­pared to 33 per­cent who dis­ap­proved.

Nev­er­the­less, more vot­ers said hav­ing Mr. Mcdon­nell on the ticket would make them less likely to vote for the Re­pub­li­can nom­i­nee than vot­ers who said it would make them more likely to do so. Thirty per­cent said less likely, 23 per­cent said more likely, and 49 per­cent said it would not make a dif­fer­ence.

Re­gard­less of the vice-pres­i­den­tial spec­u­la­tion, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Mr. Rom­ney’s state cam­paign chair­man, said Repub­li­cans need to unite around a can­di­date — and fast.

“If we al­low this thing to go on much longer, then I think it could cre­ate di­vi­sions and make it more dif­fi­cult for us to win in Novem­ber,” he said. “If the Re­pub­li­can Party is viewed as a party that is wrapped around the axle with rigid ide­olo­gies and hy­per­par­ti­san pol­i­tics, then we will lose the abil­ity to lead just as fast as we won it.”

In the other mar­quee matchup in the state — the con­test to re­place re­tir­ing Sen. Jim Webb, a Demo­crat — Repub­li­cans have been work­ing fever­ishly to tie for­mer Gov. Tim Kaine, a Demo­crat, to Pres­i­dent Obama and his poli­cies. Mr. Kaine was the first ma­jor of­fi­cial to en­dorse him in the 2008 cam­paign out­side Mr. Obama’s home state of Illi­nois and served as his hand­picked chair­man of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee be­fore step­ping down to run for the Se­nate.

But in­ter­est­ingly, Mr. Obama ac­tu­ally out­per­formed Mr. Kaine in his matchup against Mr. Rom­ney; Mr. Kaine held a sta­tis­ti­cally in­signif­i­cant 47-per­cent-to44-per­cent lead over Ge­orge Allen in the same poll.

“Virginia’s U.S. Se­nate race has been too-close-to-call from the get-go,” said Mr. Brown. “It re­mains a squeaker and is likely to re­main that way un­til the Novem­ber elec­tion. An Obama vic­tory in the pres­i­den­tial race would help Kaine, while if the Re­pub­li­can car­ries the state in Novem­ber, that would help Allen.”

The Quin­nip­iac poll, con­ducted from March 13 to 18, sur­veyed 1,034 reg­is­tered vot­ers and has a mar­gin of er­ror of 3.1 per­cent­age points.

A de­mo­graphic break­down of party iden­ti­fi­ca­tion shows 286 Repub­li­cans, 282 Democrats, and 407 in­de­pen­dents polled, but weighted party iden­ti­fi­ca­tion per­cent­ages, meant to fac­tor in tem­po­rary fluc­tu­a­tions in party af­fil­i­a­tion, put the sam­ple at 26 per­cent Re­pub­li­can, 31 per­cent Demo­crat, and 37 per­cent in­de­pen­dent.

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