October 9, 2009
Republican Robert F. McDonnell has taken a commanding lead over R. Creigh Deeds in the race for governor of Virginia, as momentum the Democrat had built with an attack on his opponent's conservative social views has dissipated, according to a new Washington Post poll.
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.
Much of the movement since last month, when a Post poll showed Deeds closing in on McDonnell, has come in Northern Virginia. A 17-point Deeds lead there has been whittled significantly, with his support waning substantially in Northern Virginia's left-leaning inner suburbs.