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Poll shows Rep. Perriello trailing by 23 points

Ben Pershing

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.

By Ben Pershing  |  July 20, 2010; 5:39 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Robert Hurt , Tom Perriello  
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SurveyUSA was the most accurate pollster in 2009 in Virginia, predicting McDonnell's margin of victory and percentage total each within 0.6 percent.

Posted by: JTR555 | July 20, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

SurveyUSA, contrary to what Perriello's people want us to believe, is one of the most accurate polls around. They hit the Virginia wave last year almost to the percentage point, far closer than any other pollster.

Perriello was behind two years ago, but then he was the challenger with no record. It was easy to make up the margin in an anti-Republican fervor. But now he's the incumbent with the awful record in an anti-Democrat fervor. No chance he makes this gap up unless Hurt blows it.

Posted by: dblu2 | July 21, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

golly, i guess voting AGAINST your consituents REPEATEDLY has a price. too bad ALL OF US will suffer with the consequences of this piece of craps actions the last 18 months. good day, tom; good riddance. thanks for playing russian roulete my 8 year old Cerebral Palsey sons life and my breast-cancer survivor wife's life. too bad YOU didnt have skin in the game, eh? just us. sickening. all your firggin MONEY wont save you, you punk.

Posted by: fred1962 | July 21, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank you fred1962. I can't disagree with anything you said and you obviously have a more personal interest in this. Although we will ALL suffer with the consequences of ObamaCare, which little Tommy Boy voted for against his constituent's interests and wishes. Let us all hope that the damned bill can either be repealed in the next Congress or at least block any appropriation of funds for it's implementation. In the meantime, Little Tommy can probably get a Fed job come next January as a reward from the Obama Regime for his treachery. Come January 2013, Tommy can go back to his former activity of raising money to run commercials/ads in Muslim countries apologizing for the so-called atrocities allegedly committed by U.S. troops.

Posted by: VA_Republican | July 22, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

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