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VIRGINIANS FAVOR BUSH, ALLEN AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM, ACCORDING TO OLD DOMINION RESEARCHERS' POLL

Former Gov. George Allen is in a close race with Sen. Chuck Robb for the incumbent's seat in the U.S. Senate, according to a poll conducted by Old Dominion University researchers.

Statewide results from the survey, released Monday, reveal that Allen leads Robb 46.8 percent to 37.4 percent, with 14.7 percent undecided, leading up to the November 2000, election. With the margin or error of +/- 2.8, the race may be as close as 44 to 40.2 in favor of Allen or as wide as 49.6 to 34.6 in favor of the former governor.

Independents leaned toward Allen (35 percent) and Robb (33 percent) in numbers that could tilt the race either way, said principal investigator Stephen K. Medvic, assistant professor of political science and geography and the author of the telephone questionnaire.

The study was conducted from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5 through the university's Social Science Research Center. A random sample of opinions was drawn from 27,000 registered Virginia voters age 18 and older - 9,500 from South Hampton Roads (SHR); 17,500 from the rest of the state.

Regarding campaign finance reform, responses clearly reflect a cynicism that most Americans harbor toward the political system and politicians, Medvic said.

Asked whether they thought their delegate had ever voted a certain way on legislation in exchange for a campaign contribution, statewide more than 46 percent said yes; 24 percent said they weren't sure. Only 29.3 percent said they didn't think their delegates favored contributors.

"When roughly half of all respondents believe that campaign contributions buy influence and when three-quarters want limits on such contributions, the campaign finance system in Virginia appears to be in need of serious reform," Medvic said.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush would win Virginia in the presidential election if it were held today, according to the results. He holds a substantial lead over potential opponents, including Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley.

Bush would easily win Virginia's Republican presidential primary. Sixty-five percent of respondents favored Bush, compared with 14.5 percent who picked Sen. John McCain. Even a majority of Democrats who plan to vote in the February primary favor Bush over McCain, but by a narrower margin -- 51.3 percent to 20.4 percent.

Results from statewide analyses have a sampling error of +/-2.8 at the 95 percent confidence level (though individual survey responses may have lower sampling errors). This means that in 95 out of 100 samples, the results on any given question would fall within plus or minus 2.8 percentage points of the results from this survey. Statewide results were weighted to account for over-sampling SHR, which makes up 15 percent of Virginia's total population.

Results from SHR respondents have a sampling error of +/- 4.0 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level; those from the rest of Virginia have a sampling error of +/- 3.9 percent points (95 percent confidence).

This article was posted on: November 22, 1999

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