Quinnipiac University has conducted eight surveys in Virginia over the past 13 months, and for the eighth time, they find former Republican Sen. George Allen and former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine within the margin of error in the race for the commonwealth's open Senate seat, according to the latest poll released Thursday.
Allen leads Kaine in the new poll, 46 percent to 44 percent, within the poll's margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.4 percentage points. Eleven percent of voters prefer another candidate, say they wouldn't vote or are undecided.
In the eight polls, Allen has led three times, by an average of 1.7 points. Kaine has led the other five times, by an average of 1.4 points. In the previous poll, in early June, Kaine led Allen by a single point, 44 percent to 43 percent.
Kaine wins 87 percent of Democrats, while Allen holds 92 percent of Republicans. The two are effectively tied among independents, with Kaine marginally ahead, 44 percent to 42 percent.
The poll does show a modest rise in Kaine's negatives, as GOP outside groups have launched TV ads attacking his record as governor and later chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In early June, 44 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of Kaine, compared to 28 percent who had an unfavorable opinion. But, in the new poll, 43 percent view Kaine favorably, while 34 percent view him unfavorably.
Allen remains popular, too: 43 percent view him favorably, and 28 percent view him unfavorably. The poll does not show a significant change in Allen's ratings.
The two candidates are looking to the top of the ticket for the final push to propel them across the finish line. But President Obama and Mitt Romney are deadlocked
in the latest poll, with each candidate drawing 44 percent of the vote.
With the presidential and Senate races looking like toss-ups, voters in the commonwealth can only expect the television ads to increase in frequency over the next three-and-a-half months.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 10-16, surveying 1,673 registered voters.