The latest Washington Post poll puts Bob McDonnell nine points ahead of Creigh Deeds in the race to be Virginia’s next governor. More telling about the zeitgeist in the Old Dominion though is the compilation of various polls pulled together by Virginia-based consultancy McGuire-Woods.
Most of the polls, which track the race at varying points since the summer, have McDonnell performing fairly consistently in each poll. While the individual polls differ (one has the Republican in the 53-55% range, the other has him bouncing between 48% and 51%) in each poll he maintains a consistent range. Deeds is much less consistent – the Post poll has him swinging between a low of 39% in early August to a high of 47% in mid-September. In each poll, however, Deeds appears to have dipped from his high water mark since mid-September.
What does it all mean? Well, McDonnell has maintained a steady stream of support – even as Deeds tried to get mileage out of his 20-year-old grad school writings and paint him as a Bible-thumping Cro-magnon who would do more to hurt the cause of women than Ike Turner and Amp energy drink combined. And where Deeds did make inroads, his campaign’s lack of a positive message – or even a coherent one – meant he couldn’t keep the support.
If these trends hold up, it wouldn’t be surprising if McDonnell’s get-out-the-vote efforts on election day are more successful and he outperforms the opinion polls. McDonnell voters have a candidate to vote for, which is actually motivating on election day; Deeds voters have a candidate to vote against, which is less exciting.