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In Shift, Kaine Attacking Allen on Social Issues In Shift, Kaine Attacking Allen on Social Issues In Shift, Kaine Attacking Allen on Social Issues In Shift, Kaine Attacking...

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Politics

In Shift, Kaine Attacking Allen on Social Issues

February 23, 2012
The measure prompted such an outcry, that Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who initially said he would sign the measure if it came across his desk, changed course, asking for specific changes. "It is apparent that several amendments to the proposed legislation are needed to address various medical and legal issues which have arisen. It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bill's stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age," McDonnell said in a statement. A state Senate Committee voted along party lines to pass the amended measure on Thursday. But Allen has remained silent on the bill. When asked by Hotline On Call on Wednesday where the former senator stands, his spokesman did not directly address the question. "[Kaine] and his allies seem intent on making this race about anything other than solutions to create jobs, addressing our country's energy issues including surging gas prices and reining in the wasteful excesses of Washington that have made trillion dollar deficits the norm," said Bill Riggs, the spokesman, after being asked for a response to the ultrasound measure. It's not difficult to see why Allen did not want to wade in. It's not just McDonnell's shift that illustrates that it is a politically dangerous issue. Recent polling shows that commonwealth voters are also not on board. A Christopher Newport University/Richmond Times-Dispatch poll of registered voters conducted earlier this month (well before the amended bill was passed) showed a majority opposed to both the ultrasound requirement (55 percent) and the personhood measure (52 percent) reference by Kaine on Wednesday. Kaine's campaign is hoping to win over undecided swing voters -- who are few and far between, according to recent polling showing Allen and Kaine running neck and neck with few voters up for grabs. But dramatic demographic changes in Virginia have paved the way for an attitudinal shift that is favorable for a Democrat like Kaine to point to issues like abortion in the campaign. Heavily populated northern Virginia, which is more socially liberal, grew at a swift pace between 2000-2010. Fairfax County, for example -- the state's largest by population -- grew 11 percent between 2000 and 2010, topping 1 million people. The share of Hispanics -- voters who typically support Democratic candidates -- as part of the total population, which was under 5 percent in 2000, jumped to nearly 8 percent in 2010. The state's population is also more than 50 percent female, a figure that goes up among voters: According to exit polls, 54 percent of Virginia voters were women in 2008. "Those independent voters and swing voters that are kind of living in the middle -- this isn't what they want to focus on," said one Kaine strategist of the agenda the GOP has put forth in the state legislature.
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