More danger signs for Sen. Mark Warner. The latest Rasmussen poll has Warner leading Ed Gillespie 51%-37%. Back in early Feb. of 2006, George Allen held a similar lead in the same poll over Jim Webb, 49%-37% and we all know how that turned out in the end.
Despite all the talk of “macaca” dooming Allen (and it definitely played a role), the national landscape is what made the race close enough for that off-handed remark to make the difference. Jim Webb led in only three polls before Oct. 27 when the political bottom dropped out for Republicans nationwide ahead of Bush’s second term midterm elections. (Allen had leads in 27 other polls and they were tied in just one – the macaca incident took place in mid-August, so numerous polls already accounted for it.) Of the final 10 polls that came out on or after Oct. 27, Webb led in seven of them, Allen in two and they were tied in one.
If President Obama’s approval ratings continue to hover around where they are right now (the RCP average is 43%, exactly the same where George W. Bush was in late Jan. 2006 at the same point in his term) and Gillespie continues to hammer away at Warner’s flimsy senate record (providing the decisive 60th vote for Obamacare, his 2010 vote against people being able to keep their current insurance, 1 minor bill passed in five years, twice as likely to miss a vote as other senators, and so much more), this could get very interesting whether Gillespie wins the nomination or not.