by Paul Goldman
While we took some heat for a few pollster friends in DC over my piece yesterday – that the internal PPP poll numbers me the President with an unexpected weakness among men – I figure the latest PPP poll on the Kaine vs Allen race will get people to pay attention to what the facts say, not what they prefer to believe.
George Allen leads Tim Kaine by 13% among men in the PPP poll. It was I think 3% in the last poll. The Timster’s lead among women is roughly the same. So the whole change in the numbers, with the race going back to roughly dead even, is caused by a shift in male bonding.
Some of this is I believe too many African-American man being put in the Allen column. But even then, it still leaves George up +10 among men.
How big is that?
This big: If McCain had won +10 in 2008, he would have carried Virginia over the President! So it is that big, potentially.
Do I believe it in terms of a real possibility come November? NO.
BUT: As I pointed out yesterday, the President showed weakness among men. So Allen showing extra strength fits, men aren’t feeling all that friendly toward the DEMS right now.
Yet despite the Presidents huge lead among woman, Tim actually went down a little compared to the last poll although margin of error stuff.
What does it mean? It raises the question: Are VA DEMS developing a man problem?
Which is not to underestimate George Allen’s support among men, he has always had that a little extra. But my gut says that right now, Obama has more of weakness than Romney does have a strength among men in terms of how it plays out in the Senate race.
Still, Tim is +8 among women, this is not surprising. If the election were held today, Kaine would take +8 among women in a heart beat. He would feel confident of victory.
Obama had roughly the same and won the state by 6% in 2008. But he also won among men.
What to make of the PPP poll showing a DEM weakness right now among men? If it is Obama and/or Kaine weakness, then they can correct it, we can assume they will correct it. They have a smart campaign team.
However, if it is a sign that George Allen has more appeal than thought among men, then this is a big plus for him since he has the power to keep it.
My gut: By staying out of the ultrasound/contraception/etc debate, Allen has gotten a short term boost from men. Exactly why I don’t know but the numbers don’t lie and they are too coincidental. These issues can have a unusual fallout in the short term.
That being said, Tim’s support among women didn’t go up or down, suggesting it is settling in. If it stays at +8, hard to see Allen beating Kaine.
Unless: The surprise Romney strength among men presages a real swing here in the South among men to the Republicans this year. You got figure Allen will be 3-4 points stronger among men in Virginia than Romney. So if Romney can get it to a plus +5, it is possible Allen could get to +10.
In that case, you got a dead even race with a huge gender gap, more than double 2008, and this means you got the same thing at the top of the ticket as we speculated yesterday.
It means there are just enough Obama/Allen voters to Allen the winner by the most unlikely of coalitions.
This defies common sense to a large degree, so it has to be discounted. But looking at voter stats, my gut says that the President got some unexpected help in VA in 2008 from conservative leaning men especially younger men and middle age guys furious at Bush.
A smart Romney and Allen campaign this year seems able to pull them back to the GOP side. In that regard, Allen on the ballot helps Romney to some degree with this group.
But this is only one poll taken at a time of Obama weakness among men. Let’s see what happens in the next poll.