The Washington Post came out yesterday with a poll showing Republican Bob McDonnell up by 11 points on Creigh Deeds.
That’s a 17 point turnaround from the last big statewide election in Virginia.
Barack Obama versus John McCain.
But other than the massive turnaround in a state that was clearly starting to trend blue, there were other aspects of the poll that I found interesting.
For one, the infamous(at least here in Virginia) McDonnell thesis that Deeds and the Washington Post obsessed over for weeks has had zero effect on the race. In fact, the thesis story, which portrayed McDonnell as an ubersocial conservative when it comes to women’s issues, may have helped McDonnell. Because of the attacks, McDonnell went on to highlight the successes of the women in his family and his work as Attorney General to help women’s rights. So what happened? Well, since the thesis broke over a month ago, McDonnell now enjoys a net gain of 17 points when it comes to the question of whom the voter trusts on women’s issues. McDonnell is now up +7 on that one. Crazy.
Voters also found Deeds to have run the far more negative campaign. 61% said he was negative, 34% said he was positive. For McDonnell, he enjoyed 57% positive versus 37% negative. Now, this doesn’t mean McDonnell didn’t go negative at all. But he did focus primarily on what Deeds has done over the course of the campaign and his time as a legislator. Deeds instead went after more ambiguous attacks, such as the thesis and other less substantive issues. In other words, people felt focusing on political accomplishments and claims of the opponent was more acceptable than ambiguous attacks.
70 percent claimed that Obama had no effect on their vote. As Sherman T. Potter says, “horsehockey!” Now, I’m not going to claim he was a main motivator to go one way or another, but to believe the dominating political figure in America and the resulting mood (or “malaise” as CNN calls it) has no effect is ridiculous. In reality, when polled, voters want to come across as someone who is voting independently and intelligently. To admit that an outside variable influenced you in any way is difficult to admit. Thus, 70%.
And there you have it. Now, let’s sit back and watch the mess that is New Jersey and NY-23.