With less than four weeks to go until Election Day, Bob McDonnell has a double digit lead in the latest Washington Post poll:
Republican Robert F. McDonnell has taken a commanding lead over R. Creigh Deeds in the race for governor of Virginia, as momentum the Democrat had built with an attack on his opponent’s conservative social views has dissipated, according to a new Washington Post poll.
McDonnell leads 53 to 44 percent among likely voters, expanding on the four-point lead he held in mid-September. Deeds’s advantage with female voters has all but disappeared and McDonnell has grown his already wide margin among independents. Deeds, a state senator from western Virginia, is widely seen by voters as running a negative campaign, a finding that might indicate his aggressive efforts to exploit McDonnell’s 20-year-old graduate thesis are turning voters away.
Much of the movement since last month, when a Post poll showed Deeds closing in on McDonnell, has come in Northern Virginia. A 17-point Deeds lead there has been whittled significantly, with his support waning substantially in Northern Virginia’s left-leaning inner suburbs.
With a little more than three weeks before Election Day, the poll shows McDonnell in a powerful position. By double-digit margins voters believe he would better handle virtually every major issue facing Virginians, including transportation, taxes, education, the state budget and the economy. Only on issues of special concern to women does Deeds hold a tepid 47 to 41 point advantage.
McDonnell’s supporters are also more enthusiastic than Deeds’s and more voters say they believe he has advanced new ideas for the state. Deeds now trails among independent voters by a striking 21 percentage point margin — 59 to 38 percent.
Despite a concerted advertising campaign by Deeds about controversial views McDonnell expressed about working women in his thesis — the one area where the Republican had appeared vulnerable — the erosion of support among women and Northern Virginians suggests that the line of attack might have run its course.
For the first time, a majority of voters, 51 percent, say McDonnell is “about right” ideologically, despite Democratic efforts to characterize the GOP candidate as out-of-touch with mainstream Virginia voters. More now see Deeds as “too liberal” than see McDonnell as “too conservative” (44 to 37 percent). Moreover, just 15 percent of voters see the thesis as “very important” in deciding how to vote, putting it well behind jobs, health care, education, taxes and transportation as a top concern.
The other Republican candidates are similarly well-situated:
Republicans are also well positioned to sweep the other two statewide races, with Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli each holding identical 49 to 40 percent leads over Democrats Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon for lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Barring something truly explosive, and that seems unlikely at this point, I’m calling this for McDonnell, Bolling, and Cuccinelli.