First 2009 Poll Shows McDonnell in Good Position

By VA Blogger

From Rasmussen, McDonnell ties Deeds, leads McAuliffe by five points, and is losing to Moran by four points. However, as the campaigns haven’t even begun yet, these numbers are far from static. Instead, let’s look at each candidate’s image to see how they enter the field:

McDonnell: 49%/19% Fav/Unfav, 32% unsure

Deeds: 37%/24% Fav/Unfav, 38% unsure

Moran: 33%/31% Fav/Unfav, 36% unsure

McAuliffe: 36%/34% Fav/Unfav, 30% unsure

First, McDonnell’s image is clearly the best, at a net positive of 30 points and almost half of the population having a favorable opinion of him. As the three Democrats battle it out amongst themselves, McDonnell has six months to raise his name ID and increase his favorabality even higher.

Looking at the Democrats, despite Moran performing the best in the general election match-ups, he has the worst image, as he is equally viewed favorably and unfavorably, as does Terry McAuliffe. However, McAuliffe has better name recognition (70%-64%). Deeds has the best image (net positive of 13 points), but is the least known.

As things stand now, regardless of the general election numbers, things can only get better for McDonnell. He already has the best image of the four, and the three Democrats are about to engage in an expensive and contentious primary fight for six months, which is sure to raise their negative ratings. I’d like to see some non-IVR polling, but as we start on a new election cycle, Republicans have reason to be optimistic.


  • Dan says:

    It’s interesting that Deeds is the least well known of the Democrats. Especially considering he is the one who ran for statewide office the last time around and the other two have never run statewide. Go figure.

    I think you are right about McDonnell entering this thing as the favorite. I believe Deeds would ultimately be the strongest candidate against him, but I wouldn’t care to place a bet on the outcome of the primary. The turnout will probably be ridiculously low making any prediction problematic.

  • I Bleed Obama Blue says:

    I can understand that, as a Republican, you are desperate to relieve that gnawing queasiness that seems to overcome you whenever the prospect of another election approaches. McDonnell’s name recognition & “net favorable” rating are lovely distractions, but once voters realize he’s just another cog in the “Obstacle to Progress” machine in Richmond (aka: The Republican Party), he’ll reprise Happy Gilmore’s performance in the 2009 Gubernatorial contest.

  • Dan says:

    I Bleed Obama Blue,

    I am a yellow dog Democrat from way back. Hell, I am old enough to remember when we didn’t even have Republicans in the South. But if you think the gubernatorial election next year isn’t going to be a dogfight you are kidding yourself.

    And McDonnell is clearly the favorite. Not a prohibitive favorite by any means, but the favorite to be sure. He can be beaten, but it ain’t gonna be a cakewalk.

  • RichmondDem says:

    I’m ready to conceded McDonnell is the favorite at this early date, too. I also still say Deeds (despite this poll) will have the best chance of beating him. McDonnell is going to have a lot of strength in the suburbs that Kilgore didn’t have, places where Kaine ran up the margins against him. So Democrats are going to have to make up the closer margin in the NoVA/Richmond/HR suburbs by getting more votes in the rural areas–and Deeds is the only Democrat with a hope of doing that.

  • RichmondDem says:

    And if McAuliffe is the nominee, just forget about winning. He will get creamed.

  • Dan says:


    Moran and McAuliffe may split the NoVA vote and Deeds may do sufficiently well elsewhere to win the nomination. Low turnout primaries are a real crap shoot though. Damn near impossible to predict.

  • RichmondDem says:

    Dan I agree with that thinking. I think the question is the black vote. If Deeds can wrap up the black vote in RoVA in addition to McAuliffe and Moran splitting the NoVA vote, he will have a lock.

  • Dan says:

    Thus setting up the rematch.

  • Alter of Freedom says:

    All the arguements about Virginia being a divided State, as NOVA and everything else being “downstate” could prove very true if the Democrats misguidedly get behind Moran. Deeds as appeal to all regions of the State, especially the western portions which tradtionally vote red. He has the best chances as well to piggyback the areas taken by Periello in his victory over Goode. Problem is, Deeds probably will not get the chance given the influence of NOVA. The qiestion will be is there enough support there for McDonnell to tap next Fall and I think there is.
    I continually have to remind RichmondDem of of the voting data and in terms of the black vote, I would expect a return to the pre-08 levels in terms of turnout and thats in a Fall ballot, in a Primary ballot you can expect dismal turnout (traditionally). I would be interested in hearing RichDem predictions in terms of turnout in the Primary.

  • NovaConservative says:

    I actually don’t think those numbers are all that strong for McDonnell. Given his lead in name ID, he should be leading the Dems in the polls. The McAuliffe numbers are particularly jarring…he should be up by 15 points on a guy like that.

    I think McDonnell is the favorite on paper and he’s obviously my candidate (as if that was a question), but these numbers are not good news, even factoring in the favorability numbers.

  • Why, NovaCon, it is absolutely clear why McDonnell isn’t doing better. He isn’t conservative enough!

    Of course that is pure sarcasm. McDonnell is saddled with a lot of baggage from the implosion of the GOP, both nationally and state-wide. I can assure you, however, that going down the Puritan path is a surefire way for him to lose. Something I know he realizes, much to the chagrin of some of the wingnuts.

  • Va Blogger says:


    Consider that the Washington Post poll a few weeks ago showed a generic Dem slaughtering a generic GOPer. If McDonnell wins, it’s not going to be by a double-digit margin.

    At any rate, however, I would hesitate to put any kind of stock in the head-to-head numbers. With the high rate of uninformed voters, these polls are much more valuable for the images. We’re also coming off a major Democratic victory, Obama is still in his honeymoon, and the environment currently mirrors 2008 more than 2009.

  • Alter of Freedom says:

    Va Blogger- 2008 was a cycle of “uninformed voters”and frankly hate that term but 2009 will not be. The logic behind this is in 2008 you had thousands voting out after a massive buildup aka hype regarding the Democrat Primary and Obama’s victory and then the general…in 2009 those that choose to vote, especially in a Primary are better informed if not well informed voters. I would be interested in seeign dome datapoints on how many folks voted in the General but NOT the Primary in Virginia from 2008 in terms of the Democrats. Without Obama at the top of the ticket and driving voter turnout I just cannot envision anything but a decrease in overall turnout. The “mo” as they say may have stalled a bit, we will see if anything restores it. I will say this though- McAuliffee is realy the only one of the dems that brings a high energy passionate stand that could rally folks and feed off that, though I again I think Deeds represents the best chance for the Dems.

  • RichmondDem says:

    Again, I don’t buy that national politics influence VA state politics much. See: Mark Warner getting handily elected when Bush was at 90%+ approval ratings in 2001. Or Democrats being sent to Richmond in the 80s, during the heyday of Ronald Reagan.

  • edm says:

    Is the Moran equal fav/unfav rating due to some possibly mistaking him for the Congressman?

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