In the race to become the next Governor of Virginia, Republican Robert F. McDonnell retains a steady lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Virginia voters finds McDonnell leading Deeds 51% to 42%. That’s little changed from a month ago when McDonnell held the advantage 49% to 41%. All of those figures include “leaners.” Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate.
The survey was conducted shortly after news stories broke about a thesis paper written by McDonnell in 1989. The thesis reflected very conservative views on the role of women in society and other topics. To this point, just 49% of Likely Voters say they’ve followed news stories on this topic even somewhat closely. Twenty-four percent (24%) say they’ve followed the stories Very Closely.
Thirty-six percent (36%) say the writings are at least somewhat important in terms of how they will vote. Forty-nine percent (49%) say they’re not important. Nearly half of all Democrats consider the thesis important while two-thirds of Republicans say they are not. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 32% say the writings are important including 18% who say they are Very Important.
It is possible that the thesis itself or the views expressed in the document could become a bigger factor in the campaign this fall.
Earlier in the campaign, Rasmussen Reports released polling data on the Virginia Governor’s race without leaners. Early in any campaign, it is more relevant to focus on those who are more firmly committed to a candidate. However, from this point forward, in both Virginia and New Jersey, we will report the number with leaners as the primary indicator of the campaign. Premium Members can review the data without leaners and also see complete demographic crosstabs.
For the current Virginia poll, there is little difference between the results with and without leaners.
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McDonnell currently receives support from 91% of Republicans. That’s up from 85% a month ago. Deeds earns the vote from 84% of Democrats, up from 80%. Voters not affiliated with either major political party still favor McDonnell by a significant margin.
President Obama’s is viewed favorably by 50% of Virginia voters. That’s up two points from a month ago but down one from July. Currently, 32% Strongly Approve of the President’s performance while 42% Strongly Disapprove.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of Virginia voters have a favorable view of McDonnell while 48% say the same about Deeds. Those figures have changed little in the past month.
McDonnell continues to enjoy a wide advantage on the issues of taxes and government spending. But, on the critical issue of transportation, voters are more evenly divided. Thirty-six percent (36%) trust McDonnell more while 35% trust Deeds and 30% are not sure. But those figures reflect an improvement for McDonnell. A month ago, Deeds had a four-point edge on the issue.
In this year’s other big election contest, Republican challenger Chris Christie still leads incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in the New Jersey governor’s race. However, Christie’s lead has slipped in the most recent polling.
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