Jim Webb is leading Republican incumbent George Allen in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate races. Early results give Webb 50 percent of the vote to Allen’s 49 percent. The Democrat has soared in the returns after being down more than ten points in the tally just an hour ago.
CNN exit polls showed factors working at cross-currents for Webb: 57 percent of veterans and active duty military personnel voted for Allen vs 42 percent for Webb. Webb has hoped his credentials as an ex-Marine and Navy officer would give him a boost with security minded voters. However, Webb seems to be holding up against Allen with women voters. The polls showed 56 percent of women going for Webb and only 43 percent for Allen. Women tend to support Democrats by a margin of 8 percent, which would seem to indicate Webb hasn’t been unduly affected by Allen’s efforts to trumpet the Democrat’s early 1980s opposition to women in the military.
The Webb/Allen race has been viewed as key as Democrats try to win the Senate and woo conservative voters in the upper south with a message of changing the course in Iraq.