George Allen’s Lead 18 Point Lead Evaporates
George Allen’s 18 point lead over Jim Webb has shrunk to 3 points in just one week, according to one poll.
In an election for the United States Senate in Virginia today, 8/21/06, incumbent Republican George Allen edges Democrat challenger James Webb 48% to 45%, according to an exclusive SurveyUSA poll conducted for W*USA-TV in Washington, DC. Since an identical SurveyUSA poll released 6/28/06, Allen has lost 8 points and Webb has gained 8 points. Allen’s lead has shrunk from 19 points to 3 points.
Interviewing for this poll began 8/18/06, one week after Allen singled out a Webb campaign worker at an Allen rally. Allen has lost support across all demographic groups, but in particular, among younger voters. He has gone from Plus 23 to Minus 17, a swing of 40 points. In Southeastern VA, Allen has gone from a 2:1 lead to a tie, a 31-point swing.
I’m more than a bit skeptical over the size of the drop, although other polls are also showing Allen’s lead narrowing. Despite a ridiculous amount of coverage and analysis of the “macaca” incident, though, it strikes me unlikely that the use of a word that no one had heard a week ago had this much resonance.
UPDATE: Steven Taylor argues that it’s not so much that “the ‘Macaca’ incident alone has done the damage” but that “it was the catalyst for a re-evaluation of Allen.” That strikes me as quite plausible.