Late last week, Christopher Newport University released a new poll that has nothing but bad news for the Virginia Republican Party:
The CNU poll found that 55 percent of respondents had a positive view of the performance of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, compared with a 34-percent positive rating for the Republican-dominated General Assembly. It also had former Gov. Mark R. Warner — another Democrat — defeating former Gov. Jim Gilmore or U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-11th, by nearly 2-1 ratio in a contest to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va.
“I think there’s probably a connection between the national mood and Virginia in a couple of ways,” said Quentin Kidd, director of CNU’s Center for Public Policy.
The war in Iraq and the foundering presidency of George W. Bush are a wet blanket over the party that has independents shifting from center-right to center-left.
“Six to eight years ago, the opposite occurred,” Kidd said. “But I think in Virginia, what makes that more the case is the General Assembly over the last six years hasn’t been able to get done things it was supposed to get done,” such as addressing transportation problems.
Meanwhile, such GOP election staples as school prayer, abortion and anti-gay initiatives don’t carry the weight they once did.
“And as they ebb, just as the tide goes out and you start seeing things in the water . . . you look around and see, ‘Oh, some of us aren’t doing so well economically,’” Kidd said.
“I even see that social conservatism ebbing in Virginia,” he said. “Name for me a race in Virginia that’s being won or lost on social issues.”
Of course, Kaine isn’t running this year, but the overwhelmingly negative view of the Republican Assembly can’t be good for incumbents running for office this year.