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. Terry from West Texas

    Good for Virginia! Those voters will show the US that they are Conservative to the core. They are for lower wages, no benefits, outsourced jobs, crappy schools, and Chinese products. Virginia will not be pushed around!

    October 8, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  2. GuyInVA

    How is this possible? Considering how the Washington Post has been doing Deeds' opposition research for him for the past few months, he should be miles ahead. I wonder when the Post will send a muck raking reporter to McDonnell's elementary school.

    October 8, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Washington Post poll = the equivalent of a Fox News poll

    October 8, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. Robert

    I honesty would not vote for a person who puts down women in a collage theis paper

    that tells me a lot about that person and how he views women. so people of virginia I would not vote for a person who puts down women . but that just me

    October 8, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  5. Jeff in Houston

    Virginia's right to go back to scraping their knuckles when they walk must be respected. I am almost at point where I think this country deserves Republican leadership. Why? I beleive in the right to die. Go ahead Virginia. Do it.

    October 8, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. Jane

    Yep fall in line with Albuquerque NM we just voted out our Liberal mayor who was seeking his 4th term and voted in a Republican with new ideas. Out with the old and their be a "professional politican all my life and not do much" and in with the new.

    October 8, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  7. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    Love it!

    Idiots in the east and south just don't get it!

    Back to GWBush days!

    Here we go again!

    No whining, folks!

    October 8, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. Scott L

    Because Deeds is going to raise Taxes. DUH. McDonnel is NOT running a smear campaign like Deeds is. In fact besides his stay at home mom viewpoints, McDonnel is actually pretty solid. Born and raised here, knows what the problems are, and is a solid family man with no apparent skeletons in his closet.

    Deeds on the other hands, looks like a used car salesman and wants to raise taxes.

    It's funny when the founder of Black Entertainment Television is supporting McDonnel. Granted her remarks in apparent jest of Deeds' stuttering problem were offending, but makes you wonder why a BLACK CEO is support a Republican. Because she understands that DEMOCRATS RAISE TAXES on businesses. That means less job creation.

    October 8, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Scott L

    One other thing – I wonder if the White House will now start to attack Saturday Night Live like they are FoxNews?

    SNL NAILED Obama to the wall this past week. If you didn't see it, catch the October 3rd episode online.

    The DO NOTHING President.

    I will say that if my General in the battlefield was demanding 40k more troops, you bet your high dollar I'd give them to him as quickly as possible to reinforce the guys on the ground.

    Instead, Obama wants to just talk more, meanwhile troops are getting pinned down, Taliban is winning, and Democrats are playing partisan politics with their lives.

    This is why Bob McDonnell will win in Virginia. We Virginians get it.

    October 8, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. unknown

    This is what you get when you do not want obama's support. When you are against obama, african americans will not support you.

    October 8, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. Myron

    Not bad news for Democrats. Bad news for Deeds.

    Corzine has cut Cristie's big lead in NJ to a tie. But that's not bad news for Republicans. It's bad news for Cristie.

    You media types are always trying to nationalize local races. Sometimes it's appropriate, but not always.

    Deeds is not running a strong campaign.

    October 8, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  12. James

    That's right! The people of Virginia are mad, mad, mad! And they're not going to vote for a Democrat! No universal health care! No cleaning up the air for the future if it means any economic sacrifices today! No lower taxes for the poor and higher taxes for the super-rich! It's un-American and unacceptable.

    October 8, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  13. robert

    too bad they are making bad choices there bunch of old white people have no clue

    October 8, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  14. Flex

    Who is the shady old woman wearing the sunglasses? She appears in the same position in almost every republican candidate photo opportunity.

    Conversely, Virginia is a good for nothing fly over state. It doesn't offer anything to the country as a whole!

    October 8, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. Chad in Luray, VA

    This is just a foreshadow for what is to come in November 2010.

    October 8, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  16. K2

    What's wrong? Is the effectiveness of the "hope & change" mantra combined with personal attacks worn off? Did you see the Saturday Night Live skit mocking Obama as doing absolutely nothing since being in office. That was awesome! You know the tide has changed when SNL starts mocking a liberal.

    October 8, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  17. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    Its OK WH spokesman Robert Gibbs just said its just FOX news' opinion, its not reality. It will all be OK.

    October 8, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  18. Obama 2012

    Nobody called me...I live in VA and I will NOT be voting for him!!!

    October 8, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  19. President Uh ... uh... uh...

    This is ONLY the beginning of the END of the Democrats in power .......

    October 8, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  20. valwayne

    Its too bad for Deeds that he doesn't have tens of millions of dollars of his own money to spend to fill the airways with lies about his opponent like Corzine in NJ. Deeds is toast. If NJ voters are stupid enough to let Corzine buy his way into the Governorship again they will deserve the massive tax increases they get on top of already being one of the highest taxed states in the nation.

    October 8, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  21. Kelvin

    Democrat Creigh Deeds needs to come out swinging, nobody likes a wimp and too many democrats are caught playing defense against the party of NO and NO ideas.

    October 8, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  22. David Jones

    If Deeds would say something positive for once and stop blaming Obama for his lousy poll results, he might still win.

    October 8, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  23. manny

    will any sane american vote a republican after what we know they stand for in reality not as portrayed by rhetorics and creed of the party but by what we know they really stand for, ,, war, military frauds, lies that cost american lives in arab muslim countries eg; both iraq wars and afghan war. i am waiting to see if americans have a problem with dumbness.

    October 8, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  24. Speider

    For many reasons and by perception, I believe the American people see the democrats as weak and the republicans as a stern but determined force in running this nation and the democrats have no one to blame but themselves.

    Americans love strength and winning. It may be muck raking and it may be the recent reaction to the public health option, it may be the question of Afghanistan and how that is being handled, but the democrats are being seen as the losers in the battle of party ideologies, dedication to party lines and strength in congress.

    October 8, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  25. Dante in Madison, WI

    Ah yes... Virginia, vote for another Republican–because we all know how much they stand up for the people, and not for the profits of corporations and themselves.

    October 9, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
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