WaPo: McDonnell has commanding lead

A new Washington Post poll out Monday night has Republican Bob McDonnell with a commanding 11-point lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds with a week and a day to go to the Nov. 3 election.

The Post poll of likely voters has McDonnell at 55 percent and Deeds at 44 percent. The lead has grown two points from an Oct. 7 poll that had McDonnell up 53 percent to 44 percent.

The closest the race has been in the Post rendering was a Sept. 17 poll that had the gap at four points at 51 percent for McDonnell and 47 percent for Deeds.

That poll was conducted at the height of the controversy over the revelations about a 1989 grad-school thesis written by a 34-year-old McDonnell that had disparaging things to say about working women and homosexuals.

The Deeds campaign has focused on the thesis as the centerpiece of its campaign. The Post poll seems to show the approach is backfiring, as 61 percent of those polled think Deeds is waging a negative campaign, while 57 percent of voters think McDonnell is running a positive campaign.

The candidate perceived as having run the more positive campaign has won each of the past two gubernatorial elections in Virginia.

The polling also shows a clearly diminished level of enthusiasm for Deeds among his self-identified supporters. Twenty-four percent of Deeds supporters said they were not at all or not very enthusiastic about voting for Deeds. Just 9 percent of McDonnell supporters reported being not at all or not very enthusiastic.

Another indication of the reduced enthusiasm – the polling of all registered voters shows the split in the electorate at 34 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican and 41 percent independent or other, but the likely-voter model predicts turnout with a voter base that is 31 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican and 39 percent independent or other.

A third indication of the lack of enthusiasm for Deeds is that it’s not that voters aren’t enthusiastic about the jobs that President Barack Obama and Gov. Tim Kaine are doing. The same voter base giving McDonnell a 55 percent-to-44 percent lead approve of the job being done by Obama at a 54 percent clip and approve of Kaine’s job performance at a 58 percent clip.


– Story by Chris Graham



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