Poll shows Rep. Perriello trailing by 23 points
Updated 7:53 p.m.
A new survey of Virginia's 5th district race paints a tough reelection picture for freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D).
Sen. Robert Hurt (R) is leading the incumbent, 58 percent to 35 percent, according to the survey, conducted by SurveyUSA for WDBJ News in Roanoke. Independent candidate Jeffrey Clark, who says he's running because Hurt isn't conservative enough, took 4 percent in the poll.
According to WDBJ, "The survey sample included more Republicans than Democrats, evidence SurveyUSA says of 'an energized Republican base and an enthusiasm gap for Democrats.' If the likely voter model included an equal number from each party, SurveyUSA says Hurt still wins by eleven percentage points." The station also noted that Perriello trailed his 2008 opponent, then-Rep. Virgil Goode (R), by an even wider margin before winning by the narrowest of margins in November.
Perriello's team criticized the poll's methodology, particularly the relatively small number of undecided respondents and the sample's partisan breakdown, and campaign manager Lise Clavel alleged that "SurveyUSA's polls are useless." SurveyUSA uses automated dialing and asks people to respond to recorded questions by pushing buttons on their phones, a practice which some polling experts disdain but has been gradually gaining acceptance in the industry.
Some previous surveys have suggested that the race was closer, although that was before Hurt emerged from a crowded field to win the Republican nomination in June. Perriello does have a big cash advantage over Hurt, reporting $1.7 million in the bank as of June 30 to Hurt's $216,000.
July 20, 2010; 5:39 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Robert Hurt , Tom Perriello
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