In an election for US House of Representatives in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District today, Republican State Senator Robert Hurt defeats incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello 58% to 35%, according to this latest exclusive WDBJ-TV poll conducted by SurveyUSA.
The seat is one of many Republicans hope to capture in November 2010. 39 “take-aways” are needed for Republicans to capture control of the US House of Representatives.
Perriello, who defeated 6-term Republican Virgil Goode by 727 votes in 2008, today trails among most demographic groups. Among men, Hurt leads by 19 points. Among women, Hurt leads by 26. White voters back Hurt 2:1; black voters back Perriello 2:1. Twice as many Democrats cross over to vote Republican as Republicans who cross over to vote Democrat. Independents break Republican. Perriello runs most strongly among Democrats, African Americans, liberals, moderates, those who have unfavorable opinions of the Tea Party movement, among pro-choice voters, and among those who do not own guns … each of which is today a minority among likely voters in VA’s 5th district.
The composition of likely voters for this survey is 42% Republican, 27% Democratic. This composition reflects an energized Republican base and an enthusiasm gap for Democrats, evident in SurveyUSA polling from around the country. If the electorate is more Democratic than shown in SurveyUSA’s model here, the Republican still wins, though his margin of victory is less. For example, if hypothetically there were an even number of Democrats and Republicans in the likely voter model, Republican challenger Hurt wins today by 11 points, not 23.