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updated 10/24/2006 6:04:49 AM ET 2006-10-24T10:04:49

The Mason-Dixon Virginia Poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. from October 17 through October 19, 2006.  A total of 625 registered voters were interviewed statewide by telephone.  All indicated that they were likely to vote in the November general election.

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Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers.  A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the state.  Quotas were assigned to reflect voter turn-out by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 4 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if the entire population were sampled.  The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a regional or racial grouping.

SAMPLE FIGURES:

Men 310 (50%)         Women 315 (50%)
Whites 526 (84%)       Blacks  92 (15%)     Other   7 (1%)

REGION                                    

Northern Virginia               165 interviews             

Shenandoah/Piedmont              90 interviews             

Richmond Metro                   90 interviews             

Hampton Roads                    130 interviews

Lynchburg/Southside               75 interviews

Roanoke/Southwestern Virginia     75 interviews

ALLEN OPENS NARROW LEAD,
ALLEGED RACIAL REMARKS NOT IMPORTANT TO MOST VOTERS

Incumbent Republican Senator George Allen has opened a slight lead over Democratic challenger Jim Webb in his re-election race, but the race remains very competitive.  Allen’s slump has appeared to have hit bottom and rebounded some, as most Virginia voters indicate that alleged racial slurs he may have used as a student at the University of Virginia are not going to be an important factor in their voting decision.

Statewide, 47% of likely voters currently support Allen, while 43% back Webb, 2% are for independent Gail Parker and 8% are undecided.  In late September, Webb had pulled into a 43%-43% tie with Allen, amidst the charges of Allen’s past behavior.

SENATE VOTE            ALLEN    WEBB    PARKER    UNDECIDED

July 2006                       48%      32%     N/A         20%

September 2006           46%      42%     N/A         12%

Late September 2006    43%      43%      2%         12%

October 2006             47%      43%      2%          8%

Allen still leads in the rural most regions of the state, and the Richmond metro area, while Webb is ahead in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.  Allen leads among men (49%-41%), while the race is even (45%-45%) among women.

Allen could still be hampered by President Bush’s continued mixed job rating – which remains at 42% positive -- and the 45%-43% plurality that would rather see Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.

BUSH JOB PERFORMANCE         EXC    GOOD    FAIR    POOR    UND

March 2001                                14%     44%     27%     13%     2%

December 2003                         22%     34%     21%     23%     -

September 2004                     24%     32%     15%     28%     1%

October 2004                          24%     34%     17%     25%     -

September 2005                     12%     30%     20%     37%     1%

July 2006                                14%     29%     15%     41%     1%

September 2006                   14%     28%     16%     41%     1%

October 2006                        17%     25%     18%     38%     2%

Bush’s handling of Iraq remains a handicap for Allen (51% disapprove), but the President’s handling of the economy (54% approve) and the war on terror (57% approve) may offer some areas of strength.

Allen’s personal popularity with state voters is still an issue. While Allen’s favorable name recognition has stopped falling, his unfavorable name recognition continued to increase 32% to 39%.

ALLEN NAME REC                FAV   UNFAV   NEUT   DR

June 1992                     13%     5%     27%   55%

January 1993                  19%     8%     37%   36%

May 1993                      18%     8%     38%   36%

June 1993                     23%    12%     36%   29%

August 1993                   32%    18%     34%   16%

September 1993                39%    24%     31%    6%

October 1993                  44%    24%     29%    3%

November 1993                 50%    25%     25%    -

January 1994                  45%    17%     36%    2%

March 1994                    49%    16%     34%    1%

January 1995                  43%    24%     22%    1%

July 1995                     49%    24%     26%    1%

October 1995                  48%    29%     22%    1%

February 1998                 64%    16%     19%    1%

June 1999                     56%    15%     26%    3%

September 1999                59%    13%     26%    2%

July 2000                     52%    22%     23%    3%

September 2000                49%    29%     20%    2%

October 2000                  47%    35%     20%    1%

November 2000                 48%    34%     17%    1%

July 2005                     51%    23%     23%    3%

July 2006                     49%    23%     25%    3%

September 2006                41%    31%     27%    1%

Late September 2006 **        40%    32%     27%    1%

October 2006                  42%    39%     18%    1%

Webb’s favorable name recognition has increased only slightly over the past few weeks, but his unfavorable recognition jumped from 20% to 28%.

WEBB NAME REC                  FAV   UNFAV   NEUT   DR

July 2006                     21%    11%     35%   33%

September 2006                28%     7%     43%   22%

Late September 2006 **        31%    20%     41%    8%

October 2006                 34%    28%     33%    5%

The impact of the allegations about Allen’s use of racial slurs while a student at the University of Virginia over 30 years ago seem to have faded with state voters.  They are divided over whether or not the charges are true, with 30% feeling they are true, 28% feeling they are false and 42% not sure or not caring. Only 15% said the charges had any importance in their voting decision, 83% indicated they were not important.

Allen is in slightly better shape than he was a few weeks ago, however, his re-election is hardly guaranteed.  He continues to run under the 50% threshold and his personal popularity is far more mixed now than it was just a few months ago.  Most of the damage has been self-inflicted, but there is also a degree of anti-Republican sentiment present this year in this generally Red State.

STATEWIDE NAME RECOGNITION

I am going to read you a list of names. 

The first name is _____________.  Do you recognize that name?

(IF YES) Do you have a favorable, unfavorable or neutral opinion of ________?

                   RECOGNIZE   RECOGNIZE   RECOGNIZE     DON'T

                   FAVORABLE  UNFAVORABLE  NEUTRAL     RECOGNIZE                 

George Allen           42%         39%         18%          1%      

Jim Webb               34%         28%         33%          5%      

QUESTION: If the 2006 election for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat were held today, would you vote for:

     - Jim Webb, Democrat                      

     - George Allen, Republican                

     - Gail Parker, Independent Green Party

                          WEBB     ALLEN     PARKER    UNDECIDED  

STATE                      43%     47%       2%          8%               

REGION                  WEBB    ALLEN    PARKER    UNDECIDED  

Northern Virginia          50%     40%       2%          8%        

Shenandoah/Piedmont        38%     53%       -           9%          

Richmond Metro             36%     53%       3%          8%          

Hampton Roads              47%     42%       2%          8%          

Lynchburg/Southside        40%     53%       1%          6%          

Roanoke/Southwest          41%     48%       1%        10%              

SEX                       WEBB    ALLEN    PARKER    UNDECIDED  

Men                        41%     49%       2%          8%           Women                      45%     45%       2%          8%              

RACE                     WEBB    ALLEN    PARKER    UNDECIDED  

White                      37%     55%       2%          6%           Black                      78%      4%       1%         17%                

PARTY ID                WEBB    ALLEN    PARKER    UNDECIDED  

Democrats                  80%      8%       1%         11%           Republicans                 7%     90%       -           3%           Independents               46%     39%       5%        10%              

                                                                         UNDECIDED
                   STATE  MEN  WOMEN  DEMS  REPS  INDS  VOTERS

     DEMOCRATS     45%   39%   51%    96%    4%   41%    43%

     REPUBLICANS   43%   49%   37%     -    90%   35%    24%

     NOT SURE      12%   12%   12%     4%    6%   24%    33%

QUESTION: How would you rate the performance of George W. Bush as president: excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?

                   STATE  MEN  WOMEN  DEMS  REPS  INDS

     EXCELLENT     17%   18%   16%     1%   37%   11%

     GOOD          25%   27%   23%     5%   46%   23%

     FAIR          18%   16%   20%    20%   13%   22%

     POOR          38%   37%   39%    72%    4%   41%

     UNDECIDED       2%    2%    2%     2%    -     3%

QUESTION: Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq?

                   STATE  MEN  WOMEN  DEMS  REPS  INDS

     APPROVE       43%   47%   39%    10%   77%   37%

     DISAPPROVE    51%   50%   52%    88%   13%   55%

     NOT SURE       6%    3%    9%     2%   10%    8%

QUESTION: Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the economy?

                    STATE  MEN  WOMEN  DEMS  REPS  INDS

     APPROVE       54%   55%   53%    12%   94%   51%

     DISAPPROVE    39%   38%   40%    78%    5%   39%

     NOT SURE       7%    7%    7%    10%    1%   10%

QUESTION: Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the war on terror?

                    STATE  MEN  WOMEN  DEMS  REPS  INDS

     APPROVE       57%   59%   55%    21%   97%   50%

     DISAPPROVE    37%   36%   38%    67%    2%   44%

     NOT SURE       6%    5%    7%    12%    1%    6%

QUESTION: Senator George Allen has been accused of using racial slurs over thirty years ago, while a student at the University of Virginia. Do you believe these accusations are true or false?

                                                                         UNDECIDED
                   STATE  MEN  WOMEN  DEMS  REPS  INDS  VOTERS

     TRUE          30%   29%   31%    43%   16%   31%    29%

     FALSE         28%   31%   25%     8%   50%   23%    10%

     NOT SURE      42%   40%   44%    49%   34%   46%    61%

QUESTION: How important of a factor are these accusations in your voting decision in this year’s U.S. Senate race?  Are they very important, somewhat important, not too important or not important at all?

                                                                         UNDECIDED
                   STATE  MEN  WOMEN  DEMS  REPS  INDS  VOTERS

     VERY IMP      10%   11%    9%    16%    5%   11%     5%

     SW IMP         5%    4%    6%     6%    2%    8%    13%

     NOT TOO IMP   26%   23%   29%    33%   16%   26%    27%

     NOT IMP AT ALL 57%   60%   54%    41%   77%   52%    48%

     NOT SURE       2%    2%    2%     4%    -     3%     7%

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