The Richmond Times Dispatch reports this morning that a new Quinnipiac University poll has Mark Warner’s lead at nine points and under the magical 50% number with the election less than six weeks away. The RTD notes that Warner may have more to fear from outside the Commonwealth than inside referring to a possible “GOP Wave” that could take Warner down much as the Democrat wave of 2006 took down then Senator George Allen:
Sen. Warner probably has more to fear from outside rather than inside Virginia. If the election turns out to be the kind of national wave for which Republicans are hoping, he might be the kind of incumbent who could find himself tossed around like Republicans were in 2006 and Democrats were in 2010,” Brown said.
Brown added that while Gillespie is within single digits of Warner, significant challenges remain for the challenger in the closing days of the campaign.
“Actually Gillespie is tied with Warner among independents but the incumbent’s lead rests on Sen. Warner doing about 15 percentage points better among Democrats than Gillespie does among Republicans,” Brown said.
The article also noted that Warner has been able to maintain a lead and remained popular in Virginia because he is “one of the more conservative Democrats in the Senate.” That is more appearance than reality. While Warner was forced to govern more conservatively as Governor of Virginia because he had a GOP controlled legislature, he has voted in favor of initiatives supported by President Obama 97% of the time, including a vote to criminalize the private transfer of firearms.
Other polls released in the last couple of days show Warner with a larger lead. The sample in the Quinnipiac poll is just a little over a thousand people with a margin of error of approximately 3%, which is considered a good size sample.