The Campaign Spot

Is The Outlook In Virginia As Dire For McCain As It Seems?

There seems to be quite a bit of gloom over a SurveyUSA poll of Virginia that puts Obama up by 6 percent.

(I note SUSA has Obama ahead, 49 percent to 45 percent in “Central Virginia,” a sub-sample of about 200 voters.)  
No offense to the fine folks at Survey USA, but I decided to go back and check their last poll in Virginia’s 2006 Senate race. They had Jim Webb ahead of George Allen, 52-46. The final results were Webb’s 49.6 percent to Allen’s 49.2 percent, a margin of 9,329 votes out of 2.37 million cast. SUSA had the state’s marriage amendment polling at 42 percent support,and it ended up passing with 57.1 percent of the vote.
I note this item on 538.com, talking about the upside of Obama’s massive voter registration drive in the Commonwealth:

Obama campaign strategists believe that, with their massive months-long, grinding-it-out-every-day registration plan, that 80 percent of those new registrations would vote for Obama, and that 75% of the newly registered voters will turn out. If 75% of an 80-20 split on 300,000 new registrants turns out, that’s Barack Obama adding 135,000 bonus votes to his total in Virginia alone. Organizers in Obama’s Virginia campaign offices have been sternly instructed to focus on those numbers by spending long, exhausting days recruiting volunteers instead of spending their limited time worrying about whether there are enough yard signs to go around.

An additional 135,000 votes would indeed be impressive. But it is worth noting that Bush beat Kerry by 262,217 votes in 2004. And the above accounting takes into account that that other 20 percent, are McCain voters (okay, some would be third party) adding about 45,000 votes into the McCain (or non-Obama) pile.

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