October 8th, 2009
07:32 PM ET
10 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. Obozo the Liar

    Early signs that the country is quickly coming back to it's better senses, after the the stupid mistake of electing Obozo.

    October 9, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  2. JS

    I am a republican but I don't know about McDonnell. On two occasions I have talked with him and I find him to be very boastful. My main concern with McDonnell is his recent proposal to sell the ABC (liquor) stores in our state. These stores added $307.5 million dollars to the State budget in 2008, according to the Richmond-Dispatch. McDonnell wishes to sell all the stores for $500 million dollars. This would be a terrible way to raise money in the short-term.

    October 9, 2009 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  3. Carolyn Johansen

    I live in VA and I am voting for McDonnell. I like what he has to say. He supports the Second Amendment. I am voting for him in hopes the his election will shake up Washington D.C. I feel that this election is the first referendum on how well Obama and the Democratic Party are running the nation. I voted for for Obama but I regret it–every day when I look at the news and see the increasing economic distress in the USA in general and in VA in particular. McDonnell is the best choice for VA.

    October 9, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  4. Mike in MN

    How can a Republican be winning in Virginia or any where in America? I read over and over again how the party is all but dead. Just a few old white guys in nursing homes with only their racist hate keeping them alive is all that is all that is supposed to be left of the party. Must be non Republicans then voting for McDonnell in the polls. Maybe just plain old Americans who see the Democrats have just one solution for every issue, borrow more money to spend on a big government solution. More and more Americans know this has to end. The government and economy will soon collapse under the debt and we can't afford the taxes to pay for it. The spending has to stop and the Democrats won't stop, so they have to go.

    October 9, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
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