Among likely voters surveyed, 50 percent favored Webb, a former Republican who served as Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, while 46 percent favored Allen, and 4 percent were undecided.
Webb's edge is equal to the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, meaning he can be considered slightly ahead. The result is based on telephone interviews conducted for CNN from Oct. 26-29 among 597 registered Virginia voters who said they were likely to vote.
A Rasmussen poll shows Webb (pictured right, looking like Christopher Walken on the Matt Furey program) picking up the lead, too. And that represents a boost for him since Allen attacked Webb's novels. According to the awesome RealClearPolitics polling pages, Webb now holds a miniscule 2.2 point lead over Allen. In the last day, Webb futures on TradeSports have surged more than 20 points – now most traders are expecting him to pull off the upset.
This is all starting to shake out like the last election in Virginia, which pitted center-left (I'm referring to his politics and his eyebrow placement) Democrat Tim Kaine against Republican Jerry Kilgore. Kilgore had won the state's attorney general's office in a 20-point landslide in 2001, and everyone expected him to cruise into the governor's office. Indeed, he led Kaine for most of the year. But when Kaine started to catch up in September, Kilgore launched a series of attack ads impugning him for not favoring the death penalty. Murdered Virginians' families sat in dark rooms and wept about Kaine's complicity in their loss. One even said Kaine wouldn't give the death penalty to Hitler. It backfired badly, and Kilgore never regained his footing.
For some analysis of attack ads done right, check out David Mark's November cover story.