October 8th, 2009
07:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: McDonnell widens lead in Virginia

Poll: McDonnell widens lead in Virginia.
Poll: McDonnell widens lead in Virginia.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – With less than four weeks until election day, a new poll indicates that the Republicans are widening their lead over the Democrats in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Republican candidate and former state attorney general Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds 53 percent to 44 percent, according to a Washington Post survey released Thursday afternoon. McDonnell's nine point margin among likely voters is up five points from his lead in a Washington Post poll from mid September.

The survey suggests that the gains Deeds had made following his attacks on McDonnell's conservative views on social issues, have faded. The past five weeks the Deeds campaign has aggressively highlighted McDonnell's 20 year old graduate thesis, a document that called working women detrimental to families and criticized "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators."

But the poll indicates Deeds strategy may backfire. Fifty-six percent of people questioned say Deeds, a state senator, is conducting a negative campaign. Only 32 percent say McDonnell's running a negative campaign. And for the first time in Washington Post polling, a majority of voters, 51 percent, say McDonnell is "about right" ideologically.


Deeds' advantage with female votes has all but disappeared, with the Democrat now holding only a 50 percent to 48 percent lead, which is within the survey's sampling error. Deeds' 17 point advantage last month in voter rich and Democrat leaning northern Virginia is now down to five points. The poll also indicates he now trails McDonnell by 21 points among Independents and that Deeds supporters are less enthusiastic than McDonnell backers.

Virginia's current governor, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, is term limited and can't seek a second term. In New Jersey, the only other state holding a gubernatorial contest this November, incumbent Jon Corzine is dead even in recent polls with Republican challenger Chris Christie.

While the campaigns in both New Jersey and Virginia concentrate on local issues and the candidates themselves, they are also partially viewed as an early referendum on Barack Obama's presidency. Obama has traveled to both states to campaign personally with the candidates, and is expected to team up with Corzine again in New Jersey later this month.

The Washington Post poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday, with 1,001 likely Virginia voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Creigh Deeds • Extra
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Gene

    Wow.. this really surprises me.. I wonder what percentage of the people being polled were women.

    October 8, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. delia

    I hope the Obama's haven't fully unpacked their bags yet.
    This is just the beginning of the long good-bye to socialists.

    October 8, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. Tinkerbell Sniffit

    Acorn will come to the rescue!

    October 8, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. Kevin

    The Dems probably need to focus their resources on winning in New Jersey so they can avoid a two-state sweep in November.

    October 8, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. diana

    Really. With all their Rhetorics? The question is; How will this favored party candidate to-win will really helped them, in case they got their wish. We all knew that Republican are just talk with no actions. Well it's their funeral. Gosh they really are a glutton for punishment

    October 8, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. Willy Brown

    After Mark ( No surplus) Warner and Obummer's stooge Little Timmy Kaine the part time gov. We need a full time job holder. Bob will win.

    October 8, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. i love democracy

    if you knew what was good for us you would keep VA a DEMOCRATIC STATE. remember what happend the last time we had a republican gov' we went into the crapper also mcdonnell says take a charity for health care lets us know what he's about

    October 8, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. Mickey, NY

    Not to worry, the next GOP political screw-up is right around the corner, tanking the Virginia elections for them. Some republican politician will end up getting pulled over for DUI, or someone will come forward claiming to be McDonnell's personal male prostitute.

    GOP = Grand Obstructionist Party

    Evolve or die...

    October 8, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. ib

    I'm really glad to see this and hopes it gets to be a wider margin. This state can't afford Deeds. Taxes are already so high we're thinking about moving to another state when we retire which won't be long off.

    October 8, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. mjm

    Nobody cares about a 20 year old thesis no matter how many times CNN brings it up.

    It didn't take people long to realize that Democrats are all show and no go.

    Republicans will be back in charge soon enough. Hope and change is on the way!

    Man, I'd give anything to have this happen in IL. The State is 3 billion over budget and state workers and government contractors have to go without getting paid for weeks. Politicians on the other hand....they make out like bandits...literally.

    What’s with Blue states and going broke? Texas doesn’t seem to have this problem.

    October 8, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. Bruse

    Don't know enough about Virginia to comment, however in the 'Garden State' we have a govenor who apparantly did not need to wear a seat belt due to his personal arrogance, immense ego and ordained sense of immortality.

    The cost of his hospitalization and care was not his concer,

    Why ? because someone else would pick up the tab.

    What a great role model for our younger generation.

    Throw this bum out !

    October 8, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. BKrause

    I agree with an extrapolation McDonnell's ideology that also favors repealing the 14th Amendment.

    October 8, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. Joan

    It will be interesting to see the final results in Virginia which will be the first indication of how the 2010 mid-term elections may turn out. Regardless of what the media might say and what the polls might indicate, I'm afraid that my party (Democrat) will take a thumping in the coming elections because we haven't been able to ACCOMPLISH anything! There's been no focus and no action on the issues that mean the most to Americans.....like JOBS. My advice: stop scattering your energy. Concentrate on one or two issues and get them accomplished before going off on another tangent. Americans want to see results.....not just good intentions.

    October 8, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. annie s

    Bigoted and living in the dark ages when it comes to women and gays is "about right ideologically"??? God help us all.

    October 8, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  15. CNN do your job right

    I wonder what excuses there'll be from the dems IF they lose this election. I'm hoping the dems will win this election, honestly, to see what how much worse they are than the republicans. Bush, Republican, had the biggest government in history which contributed to this mess. Dems want a bigger government? Sheesh

    October 8, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. slp

    Get use to it liberals. The beginning of things to come. America is waking up. Here is a little note to our republican leaders. I sincerely hope that you have learned something and go back to your basic principles. You do have to own up to the part you played in your fall from grace. Please get back to the ideology that you embodied at one time that made this country great.

    October 8, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. Censorship in Practice form at CNN--S Callahan NYS

    McDonell's surge tells one alot about the slient America that has just about had enough of the direction of this country and intends to make their voices loud and clear and no longer silent.

    It's going to be like a wave in the ocean throughout the country...I think this is just the ripple starting... better act quick..heard they have 'non POLICE cars" already for the empty prison in Montana

    October 8, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. Edward lawler

    Being a Virginian I would advise Biden and Obama to stay home. They will only hurt Deeds in this state. He's already stepped on his credibility enough without their percieved socialist images.

    October 8, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. Patriot

    51% say McDonnell is "about right" idealogically? Who was being polled? Religious fundamentalists?

    October 8, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  20. Emily Rose

    When a leopard shows you its spots, believe its a leopard. His thesis may be twenty years old, but those spots are hard to get rid of.

    October 8, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    The biggest problem with Democrats and their liberal ideology is that they finally got their shot with essentially complete power on the National Political scene and every item on their wish list.
    It's not working at all and Americans are tired of finger pointing and excuses. We've piled up the national debt to obscene levels and unemployment is still heading for 15%. It didn't work.

    October 8, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  22. Larry

    The Republicans are asking for their America back. I wonder which America that would be?
    Would that be the America where the Supreme Court picks your president instead of counting all the votes? Would that be the America where rights to privacy are ignored? Or would that be the America where an idiot from Alaska and a college drop-out with a radio show could become the torchbearers for the now illiterate Republican Party?
    I fear that would not be the America they want back. I fear that the America they want back is the one where black men don’t become President.
    I remember that America. In that America people screaming at public gatherings were called out for what they were – an angry mob. Of course, they wore sheets to cover up their bad hair.

    October 8, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Good for Virginia !!!!

    October 8, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. victim of republican greed

    You go McDonnell, put those women in their place.

    October 8, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  25. zack

    I don't believe NJ and VA are referendums on Obama. Deeds simply isn't that interesting to Democrats in a swing state. Obama turned out a heavy Democratic which included a heavier african american turnout to win states like VA and NC. Black votes DO make a difference.

    October 8, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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