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. victim of republican greed

    McDonnell is about right ideologically? What is happening in Virginia that makes voters want to return to the 1940's?

    October 8, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Virginia is a notoriously conservative state; afterall, the capital of the Confederacy was Richmond.

    It's just a shame that so many people – McDonnel and his supporters – still cling to the notions of the 1860s about equality and justice.

    October 8, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Liberal stands for liberty

    Bottom line...conservatives have the same mindset as those from history who stepped on people's necks...they are hateful, Hobbesian, and borderline racist. Period!

    October 8, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. Debbie in VA

    Count on this female's vote. While I don't like his thesis statements, Webb's statements actually caused damage. I will never forget some of the comments senior male military members made and backed up with what Webb said. I might not like what McDonnell said but there was no damage and his daughter served in Iraq. Obviously he didn't mean what he said. What has Webb done to show that he has changed his mind? I lived the effects of his statements.

    October 8, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. mark

    A dirty campaign? what do you expect?

    October 8, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. Little Tommy

    If the Dems don't get their act together, they're going to lose many more more races and all their gains are going to go right down the drain!

    October 8, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. God n' Country

    Deeds knows he cannot win on the issues, so he is digging for dirt from McDonnell. Nobody cares about some paper that McDonnell wrote 20+ years ago. As a student, I can tell you that there's been so many times when I've nonsensed my way through an essay or project just so I could get it done. It is clearly not a significant charge from Creigh Deeds. And even if Bob McDonnell did believe everything he wrote in that essay, it's not relevant. I mean, it's not like he's going to force all working women to quit their jobs!

    October 8, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  8. terry, va

    First step in taking back America!!!!

    October 8, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    America is waking up and now realizes what gross incompetence looks like; and it looks like Obama and the democrats.

    October 8, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. Voter

    Looks like Virginia is reverting to type.

    Nothing lasts forever, Mr. O, but I bet you were all counting on the 2008 Obama vote being significant in an area other than turning out the African American vote once in American history.

    You clearly have no staying power, Barry. And no coat tails. Hmm... 2010 doesn't look too good right now, does it?

    October 8, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  11. victim of republican greed

    I think it all began when Deeds rethought his position on guns with the death of 33 people at Virginia Tech. NRA then endorsed McDonnell.

    It seems if you don't support gun sales at PTA bake sales, the NRA will make you a target.

    October 8, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. Miriam

    Has this man ever recanted his views on women? It is incredible that any woman or man would support McDonnel.

    October 8, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. AQ

    Once again I ask – why can't we let the South leave and become its own country? Who of the intelligent states in the US would really miss them? They can keep Faux News, juggle their kids and guns and shop till they drop at Wally World. Then we, in the North, can finally get the health care we want and join the rest of the world in moving forward.

    October 8, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  14. suzyku

    Apparently VA. is dumbing down again!

    October 8, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  15. Bob

    Let's get more Republicans so we can have another 8 years of so of the great poliices.

    October 8, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  16. victim of republican greed

    This is truly good news for the anti Americans at Fox lies.

    October 8, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. JK Ashburn, VA

    It was early knowledge of this poll that caused the Obama operatives to pull back in Virginia. In addition to Deeds not catching fire, they are also seeing a growing disenchantment with Obama policies and do not want to be associated with an inevitable loss. Smart politics on their part - but also a recognition that the Obama honeymoon is truly over.

    Even the Kool Aid drinkers are learning that telemprompters can't govern and tough choices are required rather than banal slogans.

    October 8, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. obama the liar

    Joe Wilson has been proven to be right.

    October 8, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. JR

    Why is McDonnell's sign blue, is he trying to pass himself off as a democrat? "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." well I guess we all know what his scandal will be about when he gets caught.

    October 8, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. stevegee

    McDonnell is ahead in the polls because the American people have been awakened and they vehemently oppose the liberal agenda of the Obama and the Democrats.

    Virginia will be just one of the first victories for freedom and liberty...in 2010, voters across this great nation will throw out the liberal bums. And put us back on track to be "the shining city."

    The PropOganda Machine can try all the spin it wants, but it won't make a difference. Patriotism is alive and well, and we're going to take back our country.

    October 8, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  21. Jackt

    Remind me never to move to Virginia if the Republican gets elected

    October 8, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  22. lil Missy

    Remind me to stay outta Virginia.

    October 8, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  23. T'SAH from Virginia

    ALL commercials I see on TV are NEGATIVE – on both sides. And McDonnell DOES NOT speak for my values so don't say the majority of Virginians think he does!!!

    STATED:: Fifty-six percent of people questioned say Deeds, a state senator, is conducting a negative campaign.

    The 56% are all REPUBLI-CAN'Ts – which is why McDonnell's NUMBERS are HIGH!!!

    The State of Virginia will remain BLUE!!!

    October 8, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  24. CR

    McDonnell is a Pat Robertson (700 Club) disciple. The last thing Virginia needs is religious fanatic.

    October 8, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  25. Bob W. M

    And that's just the beginning suckers of the radical left; you have messed up big time, and the GOP is coming back. Its real name will be PALIN. Better get used to it.

    October 8, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
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