Thursday, June 11, 2009

State of the Race: Virginia Governor (6/11/09)

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What some think New Jersey will be when it is all said and done, Virginia is now. A close race. As was the case earlier with the New Jersey gubernatorial race, FHQ is applying our graduated weighted polling average to the other high-profile race of 2009. In the Virginia gubernatorial race, though, there isn't any waiting. The rematch of the 2005 attorney general's race in the commonwealth ended as a dead heat and looks to be picking up where it left off now that both parties have settled in on nominees.

At the moment, based on the post-primary victory boost he received from at least one polling outfit, Creigh Deeds is ahead of Republican nominee, Bob McDonnell by the slimmest of margins; just a few tenths of a percentage point and well within the margin of error.

For this race, the rules are the same in terms of the implementation, but which polls FHQ is using are different than was the case with New Jersey. Whereas, uncertainty regarding the Republican nominee in the Garden state had been greatly reduced -- Chris Christie was always polling the best among the Republicans in the nomination race and had/has consistently been leading Corzine in the polls for months -- the uncertainty surrounding the Democratic nomination race in Virginia was much higher. Terry McAuliffe broke a three way virtual dead heat and took the polling advantage only to be overtaken by Deeds following the Washington Post's endorsement on May 22. To that point Deeds could hardly have been called a viable candidate in sight of McAuliffe's lead. That, in turn, affects the impact his lower earlier numbers would have on his averages were they to be included here. Viability is the concern here. Christie was always the seeming cream of the crop among New Jersey's GOP. But a similar phenomenon didn't take place in Virginia -- for Deeds at least -- until the sea change represented by the Post's endorsement. The endorsement's affect can be debated, but what can't be is how the polls shifted after that point. Direct effect or not, that is the point where the change began to appear in polls.

As such, FHQ will be using that date, May 22, as the point at which our examination of this race will begin. Yes, that gives but four polls (13 fewer than we have at our disposal in New Jersey currently) to look at, but those previous polls ground the Rasmussen poll that may prove to be nothing but a nomination-clinching boost. Time and additional polling will tell the tale in that regard.

As it stands now, that poll was enough to push Deeds into a very slight lead as the general election campaign gets underway. Again, updates will come as soon as new polling emerges in either of these races. Both, I think, are going to be good ones that'll help tide us over until the 2010 midterm festivities begin.

*The aggregation of polling comes to FHQ via the good folks at

Recent Posts:
State of the Race: New Jersey (6/11/09)

Virginia is for Voters: Results Edition

Is a Week Old New? 2012 GOP Primary Poll


Jack said...

Ah, the graduated polling average. Brings back some good memories. Can we have the Gubernatorial Spectrum, even if it's only two states?

Josh Putnam said...

It's too bad the electoral college system is not implemented at the state level for these races.

...whether by county or congressional district.

Robert said...

We used to have the county unit system in Georgia. It kept Atlanta from exercising too much power!

Josh Putnam said...

Indeed. That was definitely on my mind when I was writing my comment.