Large majorities think Cantor focuses on national issues rather than issues facing the district, and that he is more interested in his own political career than “serving the people of this district.” They think he “goes along with the national GOP, even if it’s not right for the district.” Pluralities also think he is too close to special interests, out of step with their personal views, and out of touch with the district.
Cantor does not score especially well on specific issues. He gets more negative than positive scores on controlling government spending, the budget deficit, health care, Congressional reform – all of which are near the top of the list of district voters’ most important issues. Cantor’s negative ratings are also higher than positive on immigration and abortion. His BEST issue is crime – at 51% positive.
The Republican tilt of the district does not mean the race is unwinnable. Indeed, the results suggest a highly funded, well-run challenge could create real problems for the incumbent. In addition to Cantor’s weak standing, voters are split between a moderate Democrat or a conservative Republican (46%-45%); are split on whether Obamacare should be repaired or repealed (48%-46%); and prefer a candidate willing to support some but not all of Obama’s proposals against one “committed to voting against almost everything proposed by” him.
Given the partisan preferences of the district, it is not surprising that Cantor begins with a double-digit lead against the unknown Democratic challenger, Wayne Powell. But after hearing a description of Powell, 51% say they will consider voting for him and the horserace is cut to 41%-47%. After hearing a positive description of Powell and negatives about Cantor, the horserace is statistically even.
Technical note: This memo is based on a sample of 404 likely 2012 voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Telephone interviewing was conducted June 3rd through 5th, 2012. The sample was selected so all voters with a working landline telephone were equally likely to be contacted and was supplemented with cell phone numbers. The final sample corresponds with known facts about the district. All polls are subject to errors associated with interviewing a sample rather than the entire universe. The estimation associated with a sample of 404 is +/-4.9 percentage points, meaning these results are within 4.9 points of the results that one would get if all likely voters were interviewed.
Link to article from Powell for VA