August 16th, 2009
08:52 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: McDonnell leads in Virginia governor's race

(CNN) - A new poll indicates that Republican Robert McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds in this year's battle for Virginia governor.

According to a Washington Post survey released Sunday, 47 percent of registered voters in Virginia say they'd vote for McDonnell if the governor's election were held today, with 40 percent backing Deeds.

The poll suggests that the seven point lead widens to a 54 percent to 39 percent lead for McDonnell among people likely to vote in the November contest.

The survey indicates that the two candidates are running about even in northern Virginia among registered voters. Democrats have won large majorities this decade in the voter rich region. According to the survey, McDonnell leads Deeds by nine points in the rest of the state.

Among registered voters, 13 percent remain undecided and another 39 percent who are backing either Deeds or McDonnell say they could change their mind. Only 48 percent said their minds are made up.

McDonnell is the former Virginia state attorney general. Deeds is a state senator. Virginia's incumbent governor, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, is term-limited and can't run for re-election.

President Barack Obama campaigned for Deeds in northern Virginia earlier this month. Obama won the state in last year's race for the White House, becoming the first Democrat to take Virginia in a presidential election since 1964.

Just over a third of those questioned say that Obama's endorsement of Deeds makes them more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate. An equal amount say the president's backing makes them less like to vote for Deeds and three in ten say it makes no difference.

Last month, the president teamed up at a campaign rally with New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who faces a tough re-election battle this year.

New Jersey and Virginia are the only states to hold gubernatorial elections this year. While both contests will focus on state issues and the strengths of the candidates, national Republicans would like to make both races a referendum on Obama and the Democratic Party, since both seats are currently held by Democrats.

"After two tough election cycles, the Republican Party is in need of some good news," says CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. "If the GOP is able to win both of these seats, it will be viewed by some as a shift in momentum away from the president and congressional Democrats. Even a pickup of one of these seats would be a huge psychological victory for Republicans heading into the 2010 midterm elections."

How can the GOP give a local race national resonance? Force the Democratic candidate in a generally conservative state to publicly side with the national party, then highlight those stands. Take the federal stimulus: Deeds favors accepting the federal funds, and McDonnell opposes the idea. Last month, during the candidates' first debate, McDonnell challenged Deeds to state where he stands on a number of other national issues. Deeds, meanwhile, accused McDonnell of focusing too heavily on federal questions.

The Washington Post Poll was conducted August 11-14, with 1,002 adults in Virginia questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus four percentage points for likely voters.

–CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Creigh Deeds • Poll • Virginia
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Suzan

    When will people learn, just another republican to lead us down the path of distruction.........

    August 16, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. T'SAH from Virginia

    YEAH RIGHT – Once again the POLLS LIE – I live in Virginia and I NEVER got polled – not NOW or during President Obama's campaign?????? AND WHO WON VIRGINIA?????

    If you poll the PARTY OF NO you get results from the PARTY OF NO!!!

    Again – all you're going to do is WAKE UP a sleeping GIANT. This state turned BLUE and will remain BLUE.

    McDonnell shares the SAME views as SARAH PALIN and the rest of the PARTY of NOs and he will go DOWN like SARAH PALIN and the rest of the PARTY of NOs!!!

    August 16, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  3. worriedmom

    never know what is gonna happen, but i like McDonnell and he has my vote!!!

    August 16, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. Keith in Austin

    This election is a perfect example of how Americans distrust and appall typical Liberal Democrat tax and spend policy! Those who put their idiologic interests over the American people that put them in office, will lose! This is only
    One of many more to come in 2010.

    August 16, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Jim in Indiana

    Republicans almost ruined this country and the people of VA is ready to vote them back in. The middle class can survive the republican agenda. If you vote republican you deserve what you get.

    August 16, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Roger

    Just remember the GOP caused this financial- economic mess, I know everyone is all up in the air because we have a president who is on the ball & is trying to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Congress(democrats & republicans) is not accustomed to having to work so hard in a rapid pace. And then you have the GOP working overtime telling lies about the health care program to get it's extreme right wingers all worked up acting like fools in the town hall meetings. BUT just wait & see when things GET together & on track I really think the dems will prevail....

    August 16, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. CC

    Obama is going to kill Dem candidates in '10. Much like the '08 election was a referendum on Bush, the midterm elections will be the same on BO.

    August 16, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. T.T.L.

    ...and this too shall pass. Deeds will win!

    August 16, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. T'SAH from Virginia

    YOU are counting your CHICKENS before they HATCH!!! There is a need for the Republicans to start campaigning now because they MUST latch on to the current events and use that as their crutch!!! Health Care debate – RIOTS – ROWDY town hall meetings – Media showing every town hall meeting that is in CHAOS so now everyone is afraid of the current government – SO WHAT HAPPENS? The Party of No THINKS their poll numbers are good!!! Watch the BACKLASH!!!

    Wait until the TROOPS come out when it matters – Jim Webb – Tim Kaine – Mark Warner and last but not the least – President Obama!!!! YES WE CAN!!! This will ENCITE the right tone and the results would be PHENOMENAL!!!

    August 16, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Reggie

    Deeds is dead. He cannot win just because Obama likes him. He needs to set his own agenda.

    August 16, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. vic nashville , Tn

    Don’t worry about these Polls

    G.W Bush, Dick Cheney , Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, Bill O’ Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will help democrats before the elections

    August 16, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Keith

    The Republican Party is not just the "party of no," it is the "party of conceit and lies" that has given us the likes of Rush, Bush, and Cheney.

    August 16, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. sunshine

    no more republicans, they use fear and hate to scare and keep constant confusion.

    August 16, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. ib

    Unless I'm dead I will vote in Nov. and it will be a vote for McDonnell. This state cannot stand more tax increases on our people. We have had enough under Warner and Kaine. Deeds has already said he wants to be like Kaine; enough said. Thank goodness Kaine will leave at the end of this year. I would be saying the same thing if Kaine was a republican.

    August 16, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Will (Alexandria, VA)

    Whoever gets elected will probably be worlds better than Tim Kaine. He was too busy running BO's campaign to do his job. I'm still waiting for the transportation improvements he promised to get elected!

    August 16, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Edgar Barret

    Listening to all the commotion being talked about the health proposals in the USA I am glad I live in Canada with our coverage. It may not be the best but it sure as hell beats the system South of the border. So we have to wait awhile to get treatment, at least we get it. I have had and still have cancer,and a heart attack, but I am not broke and I do not have to worry about any bills for my medication. You can spend Trillions on wars, bailing out banks and car companies but you say you cannot afford a Health scheme. You already pay more per person than most countries. Get real, back President Obama.

    August 16, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Anonymous

    and the left wing blood bath begins

    August 16, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Rob

    What's wrong with being the party of NO? Just Say(ing) NO won't get you pregnant at 15, doing time at 18, bankrupt or broke at any age from overspending, a STD from random sex, etc. Lots better than being the party of YES. Yes, give me that joint or shot or needle or loving. Yes, I am owed everything unconditionally. Yes, I need a free ride now and should have it until I'm ready to contribute. Yes, you owe me regardless of my irresponsibility ,my disrespectful vulgarity, etc. Yes, I can be supported by you without working for it myself, because you owe me. NO, we don't. That would be acting stupidly. You want what we have. Get off your a$$ and work for it and earn it. Figure it out. It's easy. You get up. Your work all day. You follow a plan. You exert self-control.

    August 16, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. joe

    The only way to ensure we have a democracy and not a super majority and President which tries to bully bills thought the house and the senate in record time without the ability to truly read them is to ensure a balance of both Dem's and Rep's in the both houses – we need more republicans so all voices are heard!

    August 16, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Conservative and Proud

    You people are kidding yourselves. First of all, I'm a conservative, not a republican, I actually don't care for Political Parties. So being a democrat or Republican means nothing to me because they're all the same. I'm keeping an eye on this race and it's clear Deeds is desperate. Unless McDonnell screws up very badly, he will win, pure simple. Deeds has no class as a candidate and I doubt the Virginia voters care about parties at this point. They care about issues.

    August 16, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. joy

    pls guys get real. u guys really believe Mcdonnell is even with Deeds in northern Virginia, pls give me a break, the polls that matter is on Nov. no one thought Deeds was going to get the nomination, but he did. so let us not count on chicken b4 the hatch.

    August 16, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. jules sand-perkins

    Bully for him!
    A great state like Virginia deserves a Republican govenor.
    It may not be too late for the whole country to CHANGE AGAIN.

    August 16, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. John

    Hey Dems-

    Think this election is still a glimpse of things to come in 2010, or now that the President isn't quite so popular is this just a fluke race? Pay attention Mr. President, your nation is talking.

    August 16, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |