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Afternoon Read: Allen Leads Kaine, Obama Tied With Romney

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If the polls are any indication, it seems that Virginia is living up to its swing-state status.

Despite the backlash from the wave of conservative legislation in the Virginia General Assembly, a new poll of Virginia voters puts Republican George Allen ahead of Democrat Tim Kaine in the race for U.S. Senate.

The poll also found that in potential presidential scenarios, President Barack Obama leads all candidates except Mitt Romney, with whom he is tied.

The Roanoke College Poll determined that Allen had an eight-point lead—45 to 37 percent—against Kaine, the likely November matchup for the U.S. senate. Allen’s lead is up three percent since September. Allen leads among political independents (43 percent to 38 percent) but is behind Kaine among ideological moderates (50 percent to 33 percent).

According to the poll, there are more self-identified conservatives in Virginia, giving Allen an edge.

The candidates—who were once both governors of the state—are tied among women voters at 40 percent each. Allen leads among men 49-33 percent.

Even with an arguably conservative-leaning voter base, the poll found that none of the remaining Republican presidential candidates fared well in terms of the public’s impression of them. Rick Santorum ranked best with 35 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable, followed by Mitt Romney with 28 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable.

Ron Paul came in third and Newt Gingrich came in last. Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified to be on the primary ballot, so Santorum’s relative approval is somewhat irrelevant for the primaries in the state, unless his absence causes more people to vote for Paul than otherwise would have.

Despite this, Romney fared better than Santorum against Obama among polled voters. President Obama is tied with Romney at 42-43 percent and leads Santorum 45-39 percent. In a September poll, Romney led Obama by 8 percent.

The poll also showed that Virginian voters said they are still focused on the economy despite social issues taking center stage in the primary battle. Respondents said the three most important issues for them this election were the economy in general, unemployment and the budget deficit.

The poll has a 4 percent margin of error.

Read more here.

* A group of religious leaders have already filed paperwork to start a petition to repeal the legalization of same-sex marriage bill passed through the Maryland General Assembly.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance—an alliance made up of mostly African-American church leaders—said they will take the lead role in gathering the signatures to put the law on the November 2012 ballot.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Derek McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance said supporters of same-sex marriage "have been seeking influence from an elite group of politicians and supporters" but "the average citizens of Maryland continue to believe in the time-tested, unalterable definition of marriage."

O’Malley is set to sign the bill at 5 p.m. Thursday. It would go in effect in 2013.

The Sun reported that opponents must gather nearly 56,000 valid signatures by June 30 in order to trigger the referendum.

* Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell turned the tables Tuesday and blamed the media for fixating on social issues this legislative session.

The Virginia GOP has come under fire for its abortion, gay rights and personhood bills these last four weeks.

But McDonnell, according to the Post, said lawmakers have passed more than 1,000 bills and most of the coverage this last month has focused on only just a handful of bills.

VIA The Post:

“It is a complete overreach I would say and a complete misrepresentation of what is actually happening in Richmond,’’ he said.

“Of course it’s disappointing but the things that invoke passion and conflict and differences of opinion, of course they are going to involved more media attention.”

McDonnell said the most important issue of the session is the two-year $85 billion budget, which did not pass the Senate because no Democrats voted in favor it.

* The Senate Finance Committee killed a bill Tuesday that would have prevented Virginia from funding abortions for poor women whose fetuses had serious or fatal abnormalities.

The bill had already passed the House and the Senate Education and Health Committee, but was referred to the finance committee to review the financial side of the legislation.

* Widely considered a rising Republican star and vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) will headline a fundraiser for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Richmond Friday morning.

The “Cantor Campaign Breakfast” is at 8 a.m. Friday, March 2 at The Greater Richmond Convention Center.

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