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Christopher Newport University Releases Poll

Tim Craig

Christopher Newport University released a Virginia poll today showing GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) with an 8-point lead over his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) McCain receives 54 percent to Obama's 46 percent.

But the poll, conducted Sept. 10 through Sunday, appears to have greatly underrepresented African-Americans and younger voters.

The poll assumes African Americans will make up a little under 10 percent of the electorate. In the 2004 presidential race, African-Americans accounted for 21 percent of all voters in Virginia, according to exit polls.

The poll is also based on an assumption that voters age 18 to 29, a group Obama expects to win handily, will be 3 percent of the electorate. Those voters made up 17 percent of all voters in 2004, according to exit polls.

Christopher Newport also includes responses from just 27 percent of self-described Democrats. Virginia Democrats say their party's base is larger than that.

Quentin Kidd, director of the Christopher Newport University Center for Public Policy, acknowledged in an interview the poll probably under sampled African-Americans and younger voters. But Kidd said he's confident McCain is still ahead in Virginia because he holds a narrow lead among Independents and is tied with Obama among women.

"The numbers are what they are, but I am not going to be surprised on Election Day if the numbers are much closer," Kidd said. "I fully expect African-American turnout to be at record levels, but I still think McCain is up in Virginia. Is he going to win by that much? Probably not."

The poll also shows Democratic Senate Candidate Mark R. Warner is leading his GOP opponent, James S. Gilmore III, by a margin of 62 to 37 percent.

By Tim Craig  |  September 17, 2008; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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I am shocked that CNU would even put their name on this poll. For all the reasons you state Tim, it has zero credibility as a representation of voter attitudes right now. Thanks for doing you job on this one.

Posted by: John | September 18, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

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