The story in the Virginia governors race currently is what will Bob McDonnell's campaign do to counteract the effect the former state attorney general's master's thesis has had on the dynamics of his contest with Democrat, Creigh Deeds. The answer this week has been to fight back, taking the thesis issue on directly, and attempt to raise the specter of tax and spend Democrats in Deeds' transportation agenda. And given the post-debate back-and-forth over taxes and the transportation plan, that is probably a wise move on the part of the McDonnell campaign.
Still, polling continues to show a tight race to become the Old Dominion's next governor. That was highlighted again by the release of a new Insider Advantage poll that showed McDonnell with a lead of a little less than four points. And as was the case in the Washington Post poll that came out earlier in the week, this one seems to be showing a shift of women into the Deeds' column. Deeds lead among women here by just under three points.
|2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Race Polling|
|Poll||Date||Margin of Error||Sample||Deeds||McDonnell||Undecided|
|Insider Advantage||Sept. 24, 2009||+/- 3.8%||602 likely voters||44.2||47.9||7.3|
The thing to keep in mind, though, how much room McDonnell and Deeds have to grow their support. Deeds is getting nearly 90% of Democrats (about a third of the respondents) while McDonnell has a shade under 80% of Republicans on his side. The Republican is also winning among independents by over 20 points. If Deeds is to catch up he will likely have to keep pounding McDonnell on the thesis and making the case to independents that the Republican is too extreme. But 20 points is a lot to make up.
And we are just now entering a period where the tax issue may be settling in as well. There was a lag between when the thesis revelation took place and when it seemingly showed up in the polling. If the tax/transportation issue has gained any traction, that may manifest itself in next week's polling.
As for FHQ's averages of the race, the margin is now down to seven points and closing.
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