McDonnell leads in new poll, but …

Bob McDonnell leads his three potential Democratic Party rivals in the 2009 governor’s race in a new Rasmussen Reports poll, but a look inside the numbers shows reason for concern for the Republican candidate once the dust from the June 9 Democratic primary has settled.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen indicated that each of the three Democratic candidates – Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran – is attracting a relatively low level of support from within their own party in the polls, an indication that supporters of one or the other candidates are not willing to admit to pollsters that they will vote for the eventual nominee if their candidate is not ultimately selected.

Rasmussen also noted the high number of undecideds among Dems heading into the last seven weeks of the primary season.

Other data points:

– 56 percent of those surveyed said they approve of Democrat Tim Kaine’s performance as governor. A similar 56 percent approve of the job that Barack Obama is doing as president. This suggests that at least for now there isn’t a significant anti-Democrat backlash that could argue as being a necessary part of the infrastructure of a minority-party campaign.

– McDonnell’s favorable/unfavorable ratings were 58 percent/16 percent. This is not surprising as whatever attention there has been in the general public on the ’09 governor’s race has been not on McDonnell, who is running unopposed for his nomination, but on the Democrats, who have a primary later in the spring. Not coincidentally, the unfavorable ratings for the Dem candidates with the spotlight on their race are 43 percent for McAuliffe, 38 percent for Moran and 35 percent for Deeds. Those numbers are generally in line with the numbers associated with the support for McDonnell in the hypothetical two-way races he would have with each of the three potential opponents, which are consistently in the 44 to 45 percent range.

– It could be of interest to point out that the 44 to 45 percent support for McDonnell also matches up well with the unfavorable ratings from Virginians for Kaine and Obama and with the John McCain vote in Virginia in the 2008 presidential election. A first-glance thought from me on that is that the numbers could be suggesting that McDonnell is already topping out his support among the general-election set.


– Story by Chris Graham

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