Which is it?
Deeds continues to close in...
News 7/Survey USA poll shows frontrunners in November elections
That is the question with two new and divergent polls out today in the Virginia governors race. FHQ is of the opinion that it doesn't have to be an either or proposition. Let's look at the facts:
1) Obviously the PPP poll is more in line with recent polling showing a tighter race. McDonnell is still ahead and is right below the 50% mark.
2) The Survey USA poll, then, appears to be an outlier, but in actuality is fairly closely aligned with the other polls the firm has done on this race since July. The poll at the beginning of September showed a 54-42 McDonnell lead and this current poll matches the former state attorney general's high water polling mark from a Survey USA poll in July. That July poll was also the first poll to show McDonnell breaking away from Deeds following the Democrat's primary victory in early June. That trend survived until about a week into September.
But is it an outlier or not?
|2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Race Polling|
|Poll||Date||Margin of Error||Sample||Deeds||McDonnell||Undecided|
|Survey USA||Sept. 26-28, 2009||+/- 4%||631 likely voters||41||55||4|
|Public Policy Polling [pdf]||Sept. 25-28, 2009||+/- 4.1%||576 likely voters||43||48||9|
One really has to look no further than the three areas the Republican Governors Association pointed to this morning to see:
1) The number of Ds to Rs.
2) The spread among women.
3) The spread among independents.
Let's look at the numbers:
In the PPP poll:
1) The sample was 37% Democrats and 29% Republicans.
2) Deeds led by 8 points among women.
3) The Democratic state senator trailed McDonnell by 16 among independents (but that was down from 29 points with the same group a month ago.).
In the Survey USA poll:
1) The sample was 37% Republican and 32% Democratic.
2) McDonnell led by 10 points with women.
3) McDonnell also led by 24 points with independents.
On its face, the Democrat-to-Republican ratio likely explains much of the difference between the two polls. But the numbers among women in the Survey USA poll don't jibe with what has been witnessed in some of the other recent polls showing Deeds making strides among the group. The gap has been relatively small by gender gap standards, but Deeds has seemingly pulled ahead. That divergence doesn't hold with the Survey USA independent numbers. The Insider Advantage polls from late last week showed a similar (+20 point) advantage for McDonnell and, indeed, the previous PPP poll showed a McDonnell edge greater than that.
Which is it then? Well, the PPP is more in line with recent polling while the internals from Survey USA are not (though they paint a consistent picture throughout the firm's polling in the race). The fact is, the thesis seems to have had some impact, but is hardly costing McDonnell the race. The Republican is still hovering around 50% in FHQ's averages of the race and Deeds is further back hoping the undecideds in the race break for him in the end.
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