Starting on Sunday and running through Wednesday evening, Bearing Drift held a straw poll regarding the Republican nomination for Virginia’s Senate seat in 2012. Impressively, over one thousand people voted over this several day timeframe.
Here is a visual representation of the results, thanks to the folks at Bearing Drift:
The positions of the top three candidates are of particular interest. As you can see, Jamie Radtke handily won this poll with 45% of the vote. George Allen, the current frontrunner according to most polls, finished tied with Tim Donner for second place with 24%. Therefore, while this poll should serve as a boost to both the Radtke and Donner campaigns, it should be seen as a warning for the Allen folks. As for the Jackson and McCormick campaigns, these results might be troubling as well especially given that “Other/Democratic” more than tripled McCormick’s total.
Now, some people will quickly dismiss the results of this poll. After all, it was only available online, anyone could vote, and likely only those with a high degree of interest participated. Furthermore, the author of the poll, Shaun Kenney, writes that it is “wholly unscientific and non-reliable”. However, it should also be pointed out that the poll was on Bearing Drift, the most (or second most depending on who is doing the tabulating) well-known and well-read blog in the conservative blogosphere in Virginia.
Here’s another interesting fact to consider; George Allen is easily winning the endorsement race. Why, just about every elected Republican officeholder in the Shenandoah Valley has thrown his or her support behind our former Senator and Governor. However, does this poll reflect a general weakness of confidence among the grassroots base? I know that Bearing Drift has contributors and readers who are vocal in their support of Allen. But, if he is unable to translate this support into less than one of every four votes in this online poll, could that news spell trouble for Allen’s chances in either the primary or general election? Are most of Allen’s supporters the silent majority? Do they not read blogs like Bearing Drift? Or did they simply choose not to participate? Under any circumstance, you do have to wonder if a sizable chunk of the online political movers and shakers are either lukewarm to his candidacy or have found a better champion.
The next test in the race for U.S. Senate comes in exactly two weeks when the candidates gather to debate in the town of Verona in the Shenandoah Valley. Will Jamie Radtke win this contest as well? Will Tim Donner continue to gain ground among activists? Will George Allen remind us of his successes as Senator and Governor and regain the momentum? Or will one of the other candidates capture the hearts and minds of the average citizen? I encourage all of you to find out in person as the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party plays host to the candidates. The debate begins at 6:30 PM on October 20th at the Augusta Government Center. See you there!