Sunday, September 20, 2009

State of the Race: Virginia Governor (9/20/09)

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FHQ is averse to taking one poll out of context, but the evidence is mounting in the polling of the Virginia governors race that the contest is tightening as September comes to a close. And in the clearest indication yet that Bob McDonnell's thesis is having an impact on the race, the Washington Post's new survey shows the gap not only closing, but that independent women -- the group of potentially undecided, or at least heretofore undecided, voters most likely to be affected by the thesis revelation -- are moving away from the Republican and helping Creigh Deeds draw closer. In last month's poll, the Post found McDonnell ahead by 28 points among that subsample. Now however, Deeds leads narrowly by three points; a dead heat given the margin of error in the poll (no to mention a larger margin among the subsample).

2009 Virginia Gubernatorial Race Polling
Margin of Error
Washington Post
Sept. 14-17, 2009
+/- 3%
1003 likely voters

And while Deeds is closing the margin between himself and McDonnell, it is important to note that McDonnell is still above the 50% mark in this poll and is only down three points from the Post's survey a month ago. There has been some damage inflicted, yes, but to this point it isn't the type of damage that will take down the Republican's campaign. As the Post points out, the enthusiasm remains higher on the Republican side of this race. Still, if the thesis continues to have the same dampening effect on the former state attorney general it could spell real trouble. However, FHQ contends that the magnitude of the thesis will decay over time. As more voters move from the undecided to decided column, the less chance there is for the thesis to prove a decisive role in their vote choice.

Does Deeds have some momentum? Yes, but Bob McDonnell is still very well positioned (above 50%) in this race.

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In our averages, the gap between Deeds and McDonnell is under eight points, and as such, Virginia (in the figure at the top) is now not as red as it has been recently.

...but it is still decidedly reddish at the moment.

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