FHQ typically eschews an out of context glance at one single poll, all by its lonesome. Taken in context, though, single polls can be of use. Take for example the polling numbers released this week in the Virginia governors race. On Tuesday, we got some fairly divergent numbers from Public Policy Polling and Survey USA. The former showed a tighter race, while the latter broke with the trend established across other recent polls, showing a significant berth between Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds. If you average the two polls (without any kind of weighting), you end up with a 51.5-42 McDonnell edge. That outcome was echoed in the Rasmussen poll released on Wednesday.
|2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Race Polling|
|Poll||Date||Margin of Error||Sample||Deeds||McDonnell||Undecided|
|Rasmussen||Sept. 29, 2009||+/- 4.5%||500 likely voters||42||51||7|
Is that where this race stands? Possibly, but by FHQ's measure that overestimates McDonnell's position in the race but is consistent on Deeds. The underlying dynamic in this race is based on who undecideds side with (whether it will break toward one candidate or be split fairly evenly) and how well each side is able to turnout its voters. McDonnell has been mostly stable over the last few weeks in FHQ's averages and comfortably ahead of his Democratic rival. The Republican has been in the 48-49% range while most of the movement has been with Deeds. That continues to be the story. With less than five weeks left in the campaign, Deeds is faced with having to swing those undecideds and independents (something with which the thesis matter seemed to be helping) and energize his base of voters.
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