In a shift from their last poll, and in a direction that can only make their editorial board squirm, the Washington Post’s most recent survey finds McDonnell up by nine points on Creigh Deeds:
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.
Go negative, all the time, and pay the price. And what about that thesis, anyway? You remember, the one the Post has waved like a bloody shirt for the past month or so?
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.
Which makes you wonder what those thesis-reading book clubs will do now. Maybe Dan Brown? Or whatever Oprah has on the list.
But the bleeding for Deeds is only getting worse — and is spreading to his base:
Compared with other regions, Northern Virginia’s inner suburbs has the highest percentage of voters who are either undecided or open to shifting their support between now and Nov. 3. Overall, Northern Virginia voters break 51 percent for Deeds to 46 percent for McDonnell, well below the 60 percent that Democrats view as necessary to win statewide races.
The hope is that the President will change his mind and venture across the Memorial Bridge to stump for Deeds. But even Tim Kaine (sometimes Virginia Governor and DNC chairman) can’t say whether the President has a Virginia swing on his calendar.
Maybe Tim’s just not on the distribution list these days. It happens.
The down ticket races still show strength for both Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli:
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.
Not quite the numbers other polls have shown, but nonetheless substantial. But interestingly, Bolling and Cuccinelli both have higher favorable ratings than the Democrats.
So what’s sinking Creigh? Is it the cold shoulder from the White House? The “noise” from DC? Well, sure. and taxes:
On an issue where Deeds has made his position clear — his support for providing new money for transportation improvements even if it requires raising taxes — he appears to have parted ways with Virginia voters. Most voters statewide, 55 percent, say they oppose paying more in taxes for new roads and transit. Among independents, 60 percent are opposed, and even in Northern Virginia a slim majority of voters oppose new taxes for transportation.
That’s a blow both to Deeds and the Post, which has been beating the drum for higher road taxes throughout the campaign, and made Deeds’ openness to new taxes a cornerstone of its endorsement of him during the Democratic primary.
The race isn’t over yet. But if even the Post is finding disillusionment and distaste for the Democrats’ campaign — and in Northern Virginia, too — then expect to hear a lot more from the press and the White House about the hot gubernatorial contest in New Jersey and a lot less about Virginia.