Virginia Democrats Push "Women's Issues" As Lead Dissipates

Kevin Glass

10/15/2012 11:33:00 AM - Kevin Glass
As the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen in Virginia narrows, the Kaine campaign has begun relying on identity politics to attempt to draw contrasts between the candidates.

The Democratic Party of Virginia on Friday also announced the release of a YouTube video featuring series of women. They criticize Allen for his support of “personhood” legislation, which would define life as beginning at conception, and for his opposition to the Family and Medical Leave Act and equal-pay legislation.

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Allen and his campaign have said that women are more focused on the economy and jobs than the matters Democrats have been highlighting. In his debate against Kaine Monday, Allen did sport a pink breast cancer awareness bow on his lapel — a nod, his campaign later said, to his mother, a breast cancer survivor.

“It’s clear Democrats’ Washington playbook calls for using women’s issues as political tools to run from their inability to hold a conversation on jobs and the economy,” Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis said via e-mail. “When nearly 300,000 women have lost their jobs and 5 million women are unemployed, women deserve better than Democrats’ smear campaign against George Allen’s record of creating jobs and increasing women’s health access and breast cancer awareness.”

A WeAskAmerica poll conducted last week showed Allen leading by five percentage points, and a WSJ poll showed Kaine ahead by one. Previous polls had shown Kaine with a much more comfortable lead, but Townhall's PollTracker average shows Kaine up by three.

What's more, internal polling from the Allen campaign - conducted by pollster John McLaughlin - has shown Allen with a larger lead than other polls:

Allen leads Kaine by 49 to 46 percent in the poll, conducted by the respected GOP pollster John McLaughlin. Kaine has narrowly led Allen in most recent polling of the race.

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Allen has made a concerted effort to reach out to women and independents on the trail and in ads. The poll shows Allen leading with independents, who lean Republican in the state, by 47 to 41 percent, but did not include a breakdown on male and female voters. Like recent public polling, it shows Romney outpacing Allen in the race.

Virginia is a key state that presidential election-watchers have their eyes on, but it is also one of the key seats that Republicans have to pick up if they are to get to 51 seats.