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Post Poll Preview: Kaine Earns High Marks

Tim Craig

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's approval rating has dropped 14 points in the last year, but a large majority of residents still think he is doing a good job, according to a Washington Post poll scheduled to be published Sunday.

The poll will cover Virginians' views on next month's election for control of the General Assembly. It willl also gauge voters' attitudes about the two parties as well as issues such as transportation and the environment. A poll published today looked at next year's Senate and presidential race.

Kaine has been campaigning for Democratic candidates running for the House and Senate. In a Washington Post poll last year, Kaine scored an unusually high 77 percent approval rating. But this weekend's poll shows Kaine with a 63 percent approval rating.

Kaine, a former Richmond mayor, is popular in every region of the state. His rating ranges from 57 percent in Lynchburg/Southside to 68 percent in the Richmond area. In Northern Virginia, 67 percent of voters approve of Kaine's job performance.

Kaine also continues to have bipartisan appeal. Seventy-two percent of Democrats give him high marks, as do 62 percent of independents and 58 percent of Republicans. Kaine does best among self-described liberals - 72 percent - but half of all conservatives also approve.

Even though Kaine endured weeks of criticism this summer for his role in enacting the controversial fees on bad drivers, 60 percent of residents who oppose the fees say they approve of how Kaine is doing his job.

The Post poll was conducted by telephone, Oct. 4 to 8, among a random sample of 1,144 Virginia adults, including 993 registered voters. The results from the full poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

By Tim Craig  |  October 12, 2007; 12:07 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Polls , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Way to go, Kaine! You took office with a huge mess to clean up and while Va still is not completely on track and has new challenges, I with you and the Old Dominion the best. Don't let the old GOP state machine distract you...their days are numbered, unless they can join the 21st century. Va needs a vision for the future. The past is gone.

Posted by: Donny | October 12, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

As a middle-of-the road Democrat, I take great offense at Donny's comment that Tim Kaine had a big mess to clean up. He followed fellow Democrat Mark Warner. If you don't know any more than this, Donny, please stay away from politics.

Posted by: Amazed | October 12, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

As a conservative Republican, while I didn't vote for Kaine, I don't think he is doing a bad job. I think most Virginia Republicans will support Democratic governors, or at least not be too upset...Warner, Wilder, Kaine, Bailes...if they don't go too far to the left like they live in San Francisco or NY rather than Virginia. I think that is why generally speaking, Virginia Governors overall get high marks from the populace.

Posted by: jack | October 12, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

While there are always problems to deal with, Kaine did inherit a pretty solid Viginia. Warner, on the other hand, did not (Thanks to Jim "Please ignore my record" Gilmore). I have to agree with Jack, though, when he spoke about Democrats doing well if they run as moderates. As a matter a fact, I believe Democrats can win in many, many more regions of the country if they run as moderates. What gets them is when they run national campaigns, like for the Presidency. Take a look at many "Red" states; many of which have Democratic Governors, a Democratic controlled state House and Senate, or close to a majority.

Posted by: Jeff | October 12, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I think that Governor Kaine has at times been too cautious and swerved to avoid taking the hard issues head on. For example, there are very few people who think the compromise transportation funding legislation hammered out with the Republicans was a good compromise. I think the public reaction to the abusive driver fees was just one aspect of that legislation that will continue to be a problem. He also caved too quickly on the opportunity to reconsider putting the Dulles Metro Rail extension through Tysons Corner underground rather than above ground and opening the whole project up to competitive bidding.

Posted by: John | October 12, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Gov Timmy follows Dem Mark Warner...the state was already a mess...and its even more so now. He's not doing a good job..he's not even doing a decent job...

Posted by: Bill B | October 12, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Bill B's comments are baffling. Mark Warner did an incredible job (working with a not always compliant legislature) to rectify the enormous disaster that Gilmore left in his wake. Tim Kaine has kept up the good work. The good news is that the recent polls show that -- unlike Bill B -- most Virginians recognize all of the foregoing and are extremely disinclined to pick the demonstrable incompetence of Gilmore over the proven abilities of Warner in the upcoming Senate race.

Posted by: Michael | October 12, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Baffling? Really? This state had a surplus of revenue when Gov Timmy took over, and now?....He is laying off state workers and shutting down services...Baffling? Citizens of this state are now not afforded equal protection under our laws! Baffling? I'm going to assume that you are easily baffled, and entertained as well.

Posted by: Bill B | October 12, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I also think Bill B's comments are baffling, or at best short sighted. For several years running, Virginia has been rated as THE best state in the country in terms of fiscal governance, job opportunities and education. This is largely due to both Mark Warner and Tim Kaine - and not as much, IMHO, the Republican controlled State house. The reason for this year's fiscal concerns is the down turn in the economy - particularly the housing market. To not take these, and many other, issues into consideration is short sighted. To take them into consideration and still condemn Tim Kaine is baffling

Posted by: Rob | October 12, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

If a Republican were in charge he would be laying off even more workers and there would be no equal protection under the law. Gilmore's idea of running the state was to starve it to death and run it into the ground. Though I haven't been as pleased with Kaine as I was with Warner, he's been a breath of fresh air in comparison to Gilmore.

Posted by: ESL | October 12, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Gilmore was a terrible governor. His "No Car Tax" promise with no sensible way to fund it was my first clue to the kind of nonsense he would come up with. I hope he runs for the U.S. Senate.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Tim Kaine is a wimp. He sat back way too long and did nothing on the Dominion Power line land grab and continues to do nothing on illegal immigration. He is great at trying to raise our taxes though, I will give him that.

Posted by: phoaglan | October 12, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh and it was Tim Kaine's brilliant amendment that prevented Virginia from charging out of state drivers the abuser fees. Then he turned around and criticized the fees but refused to abolish them. He is a classic Democrapic tax and spender.

Posted by: phoaglan | October 12, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Everyone is entitled to their opinion however ill-informed. I don't know anything about Dominion Power land grab, so won't comment.

However, it's not the place of a governor to come up with immigration laws. It's a federal responsibility. Where is George? He's had more than six years to fix it.

Regarding the traffic violation fees. I don't agree with them either, but Kaine was smart enough to realize that those "fees" in contrast to the usual traffic "fines" could not be collected on out of state drivers. Who came up with this plan anyway? A bunch of Republicans.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Who's for Gilmore? Allen? Let's run those great governors for the U.S. Senate. As George said, "Bring 'em on!"

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans want to do away with the abusive driver fees and Tax & Spend Timmy won't do it. His dumb-ass provision for the fees to not apply to out of state drivers is the big bone of contention. They should scrap the whole thing.

The federal government obviously hasn't dealt with illegal immigration and their is no reason why Virginian can't deal with it. Kaine won't because he is a liberal wimp and wants to pass the buck. Meanwhile we have gangs like MS-13 all over Northern Virginia.

Posted by: phoaglan | October 12, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

He's a liberal, he can't help but be stupid. $1000 speeding fines to pay for transportation? Cmon, give me a break. Some governor. He's screws the people when they aren't looking.

Impreach Kaine..

Posted by: Alby | October 12, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

"Where's George" when it comes to immigration? I'll tell you - he's dealing with a Democratic congress that has the lowest opinion ratings ever! He's having to clean up Nancy P's mess when she wants to PC a genocide that occurred early in the last century, and is offending a NATO ally. He has to converse with Dems who have money in freezers and feet in their mouths. He's having to put up with accusations of lying about the rationale for going to war when the Dems agreed with him (having the same intel) that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. George B. has been villified by ignorant people who do not have a clue about the complex issues he deals with on a daily basis. These same ignorant people think Iran will become pussycats if we placate them ... I give you Jimmy Carter as an example of a weak kneed pol who could not face facts, and who botched foreign policy (that Bush is STILL dealing with).

I know that Kaine is "supposed" to be the subject of this post - but I can't get past the stupid viewpoint of the blind being led to slaughter by blind Dems.

As to T Kaine - if he's so moderate, why hasn't he reduced spending in the face of disappointing income? I have to do that to run my business and my home - when my income doesn't meet my expectations.

The Dems have bought votes with money/giveaways (read "entitlements") since FDR. Daily (mayor of Chicago) practiced the art of buying votes, and gave seminars to his fellow Dems. Johnson's policies have resulted in 18 trillion $ in aid to the poor (that is, poor politians needing an electoral boost), Carter gave us long gas lines in exchanged for power in the Senate, etc., etc.

Will you defenders of Kaine and his party please give us a break, and stop rewriting history!

Posted by: lqmidlo | October 12, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

The Abuser fees were a Republican plan that originated in the House, courtesy of Albo and Rust. The bill that was sent to Kaine was much worse. It imposed the fees after so much as a minor traffic ticket such as failure to signal or failure to use a seatbelt! Not only that, the Republicans wanted to make them retroactive! Thats right, had the GOP had their way and you got a minor ticket last year, you would have been hit with fees this year.

Governor Kaine eliminated those provisions. Stop blaming Kaine and look at where the blame belongs: The do nothing Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly.

Posted by: Chris | October 13, 2007 2:18 AM | Report abuse

There is plenty of blame to go around for the abusive driver fees. Efforts at more broad-based taxes have been rebuffed for years from those in other parts of the state. Republicans have tried for the past few years to enact abuser fees because those downstate could stomach them, but plenty of Democrats voted for them as well. It's time to stop blaming only Repubicans or only Democrats for the proposal.

Posted by: citizenFFX | October 15, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Brin | December 2, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

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