Thursday, September 17, 2009

State of the Race: Virginia Governor (9/17/09)

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It must be the thesis, right?

Maybe, but if the thesis is driving the margins in the polling of the Virginia gubernatorial race lower, we should expect that when a "not this optimistic" poll from the Daily Kos and Research 2000 comes out tomorrow (?) commentators to spin the less favorable results as a function of Deeds' tax comments* at today's debate. [Nevermind the fact that the poll was in and out of the field after those comments were made.] Yes, that's an unfair depiction of the media, but such is life when poll gazing.

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Race Polling
Margin of Error
Sept. 16, 2009
+/- 4.5%
500 likely voters

The undeniable fact is that once the idea of the thesis and what it meant was internalized, the poll numbers began to dip for Bob McDonnell. But let's not lose sight of the fact that the Republican is still in a good position in the Rasmussen poll that was released today. The candidate who should be getting the focus is Creigh Deeds. The Democratic state senator is at his highest point in terms of polling since he led McDonnell in a poll conducted (by Rasmussen) the day after Deeds' victory in the Democratic primary. Taken on its face, then, this result is something of an outlier compared to the recent polling the race.

Are things closer than they were pre-thesis? Yes.

Are they within the margin of error close? That's debatable.

What's clear is that the thesis seems to have closed the gap to some degree. But does Deeds have the momentum? We'll have to see. Internally, I mocked the idea of a Thursday debate, but it was well timed if there happened to be a gaffe of some sort for either candidate (but more so for Deeds since he didn't have a thesis-type revelation already out there). Fridays are typically days to bury some bit of news before the weekend.

The race is closer, but the fundamentals of the race still favor McDonnell overall. The Republican is inching closer to the 50% mark even as Deeds is closing the gap. And that is something not to lose sight of as we head down the home stretch in this one.
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Surely the good folks at Rasmussen don't follow little ol' FHQ, but it sure sounds like they are being a wee bit defensive/opportunistic with their comment in the write up of the poll above.
"All of those figures include “leaners.” Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate. Premium Members can review the data without leaners and complete demographic crosstabs."
In other words, complain if you wish, but if you want the data, pay up. Duly noted.

...said the employed political scientist still trying to shake the cheap graduate student mindset.

FHQ will say this: I'm glad to see Rasmussen come out with some "information" on how they collect their leaners data. [Hint, hint; nudge, nudge.]

*You absolutely have to love the title to that National Review blog entry.

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