June 4th, 2009
03:39 PM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Virginia Democratic primary up for grabs

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll of Virginia Democrats suggests that there's no front runner in the three-way battle for the state's gubernatorial nomination.

The Suffolk University survey's Thursday release comes just five days before the state's Democratic primary.

The poll indicates that 29 percent of likely Democratic primary voters support state senator Creigh Deeds, with 26 percent backing former
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and 23 percent supporting former house delegate Brian Moran.

Taking into account the survey's 4.4 percent sampling error, the contest is statistically a dead heat. And to make matters even more unpredictable, 22 percent of Virginians questioned in the poll said they were still undecided at this late date.


The winner of the June 9 primary will face off this November against Republican Bob McDonnell, the former Virginia attorney general.

"What makes this race even tougher to call is that when undecided voters statewide were prodded to choose one of the three candidates, many were breaking to McAuliffe and, to a lesser extent, Moran," says David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston.

The survey suggests that half of those polled were very or somewhat likely to change their mind before next Tuesday's primary

"The Deeds lead could be fluid, and the final tally could hinge on last-minute campaign ads, momentum, the weather, and get-out-the-vote efforts from all the candidates," adds Paleologos.

Virginia holds an open primary, which means independents and Republicans are eligible to vote in the Democratic contest. The state's current governor, Tim Kaine, who's also the current chairman of the DNC, is term-limited. Republicans would dearly love to score victories in Virginia and in New Jersey, the other state holding a gubernatorial contest this year. In

New Jersey, Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine trails Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, in recent polling. The GOP hopes winning back a Democratic-held governorship in either New Jersey or Virginia, or both, would end the bleeding from 2006 and 2008, and launch Republicans towards victory in the 2010 midterm elections.

The Suffolk University poll was conducted Monday through Wednesday, with 500 likely Democratic primary voters questioned by telephone.


Filed under: Virginia
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Andi

    But I thought this race was the new, new, proving-ground, turnaround for the GOP?

    June 4, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    Here is a oxy(contin)moron for you:

    Republicans say: "We want less government and a bigger military"

    June 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. ETM

    As a Virginia Democrat, I hope the primary voters will vote for Deeds. He has the best chance of holding the office since he is a downstate Democrat who will run strongly there as well as in northern VA.

    McAuliffe wouldn't have a prayer in the general election.

    June 4, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. mike

    I agree, ETM. Deeds does have the best chance of holding the office. I feel McAuliffe wouldn't have a prayer.

    June 4, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. The Broker.

    I told you in June 2008! All a bout Borack Obama's dreams.

    I said to CNN This guy is a liar. I lived in Kenya. I know what happened in Kenya in 1963 So do you CNN.

    June 4, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Mia Powell

    Why is it you can never comment on Sarah Palin comments, she can diss it out but can't take it she lose the race and need to move on like John Mccain did. And if you think you can do a better job running the country run against him again and i bet you will lose.Sarah Palin Sore Loser Loser Loser.

    June 4, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Vote Moran!

    June 4, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. tess

    i can't believe that virginians would elect a scumbag like mcawful! i always think of virginia as refined and classy – two things that mcawful couldn't even spell, much be!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. The Broker.

    By the Rhetoric I guess I hit a Sour/Sore point? But thats what I do.

    USA... United Soviet Arabs"...

    June 4, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. Joshua

    I'm voting for Moran, if you visit his website you'll see he has the best plan on increasing jobs in VA and for a cleaner future.

    June 4, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Pround Democrat

    Is it possible for me to send to check to the campaign of Someone Whose-Name-Is-Not-McAulliffe ?

    June 4, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Dawn in Pa

    and this has to do with another Commonwealth, I live in Pa, and I have no clue to who is running for the top spot. We did not get that far yet!

    To The beautiful State of Virginia, best of Luck!

    June 4, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Gerard Gilbert

    What the poll doesn't show is Moran's excellent ground game. His GOTV effort will dwarf Deeds, and McAuliffe can only win if there's a large turnout, which is highly unlikely.

    Prediction: Moran 37%, Deeds 34%, McAuliffe 29%.

    Fall: Moran 54%, McDonnell 45%

    Brian Moran, Virginia's next Governor.

    June 4, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. DJW

    The Broker wrote

    I told you in June 2008! All a bout Borack Obama's dreams.

    I said to CNN This guy is a liar. I lived in Kenya. I know what happened in Kenya in 1963 So do you CNN.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    So what happen in Kenya - so are we to believe you know every person in Kenya at that time and if you are white you mean you did not stand out..

    You need to get on with your life and let it go

    June 4, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. The Broker.

    All world's CNN, but no proof. I praise a lot of kenyan's i n World War Two. Stop this crap. I also lost relations ­. But the difference is, I can prove it. Obama cahn`t...

    June 4, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. The Broker.

    No! you should do tjhat DJW. I can bet your not a JEW! But Obama is a Muslim­.

    June 4, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. The Broker.

    CN N you deserve the idiot you elected.

    June 4, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. LacrosseMom

    @ The Broker, listen, what happened in Kenya in 1963 is in the past. Why should CNN cover it?

    FYI: "Broker" Barack Obama was born in 1961, in Hawaii, what does what happened in Kenya in 1963 have to do with the article at the top of this page? Or even with President Obama.

    Are you nuts?

    June 4, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  19. Peter

    If McAuliffe wins, this elections will go to the Republicans...

    June 4, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Audrey in VA

    Hey Darth Vadik in CA,

    Here's another oxymoron for ya:

    Dems want to protect your individual rights and liberties...by expanding the role and power of the federal government.

    How's that for irony?

    June 4, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  21. ib

    People in Va. had better hope the GOP wins; I do; I've had enough of the great tax increases made possible by our last two gov which were both demos.

    June 4, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. Never Repub again

    Repubs dont love America, only money.

    June 4, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |