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Virginia Governor: Will the Thesis Move the Middle?

Revelations about Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell's graduate school thesis sparked a sharp debate between the two campaigns, as the candidates strive to sway an electorate yet to tune into their upcoming ballot-box choice according to the most recent Washington Post poll.

McDonnell held a lead over his Democratic opponent R. Creigh Deeds in that poll, but a majority of voters said they had yet to make up their minds about the race. Regarding McDonnell himself, more than six in 10 said they knew little or nothing about his qualifications to be governor.

Ahead of coverage of the thesis, McDonnell faced a steeper climb among women than men, particularly moderate women, whose reactions to the thesis will be closely watched in the coming weeks. In the Post poll, Deeds fared better among women than he did among men, even notching a narrow majority of moderate women who said they were certain to cast a ballot this November.

And women were less likely than men to have formed firm opinions of the Republican nominee. More than three in 10 (31 percent of women and 36 percent of moderate women) said they weren't sure where McDonnell fell ideologically, compared with about two in 10 men and moderate men. All told, six in 10 moderate women in the poll were "movable voters," or those who have yet to commit to one candidate.

Through the August Post poll, Deeds' strategy of portraying McDonnell as out of the mainstream on social issues had failed to make a dent, with more saying Deeds was too liberal (32 percent) than McDonnell too conservative (27 percent). But among women, the figures were about equal (28 percent said McDonnell is too conservative, 29 percent said Deeds is too liberal). Watch that balance in the weeks to come.

Q. If the election were being held today and the candidates were Creigh Deeds, the Democrat and Bob McDonnell, the Republican, for whom would you vote?

Among registered voters:
                               Other     Wouldn't       No
            Deeds  McDonnell   (vol.)   vote (vol.)   opinion  
All          40        47        1          3            9

Men          36        51        2          3            8
Women        45        42        *          3           10

Among moderates:
All          45        39        1          3           12

Men          42        41        2          4           11
Women        48        36        1          2           14
Among likely voters:
                               Other     Wouldn't       No
            Deeds  McDonnell   (vol.)   vote (vol.)   opinion  
All          39        54        1          *            7

Men          35        57        1          *            8
Women        42        52        *          *            6

Among moderates:
All          48        43        2          1            7

Men          45        43        2          1            8
Women        51        42        1          0            5

Q. Do you think ... views on most issues are too liberal for you, too conservative for you, or just about right?

McDonnell's:

            Too         Too        Just about     No
          liberal   conservative      right     opinion 
All          9           27            38         26

Men         10           26            43         21
Women        7           28            34         31

Among moderates:
All          7           30            35         28

Men          7           30            43         19
Women        7           30            27         36
Deeds':

            Too         Too        Just about     No
          liberal   conservative      right     opinion 
All         32            7            39         22

Men         34            7            41         18
Women       29            6            38         26

Among moderates:
All         23            6            49         22

Men         27            7            53         13
Women       20            5            46         30

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  September 1, 2009; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Crosstabs , Virginia  
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Next: The Word on Barack Obama

Comments

My thinking is that if Kennedy can be responsible for killing a young woman and Robert Byrd can be an exalted Knight in the KKK (which I sure has been responsible for more than a few lynchings); maybe McDonnell is better suited being a murdering dimoCRAP than a Republican.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | September 1, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Very well put, Bcamp.

Posted by: flintston | September 1, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I would hope that if nothing else good comes out of this that it might make a few Virginians stop and think... "how come the president won't release his thesis, and a stack of other insighful info"?

Posted by: madcrazy4carlos | September 1, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party gets reduced to 25% of the population and becomes more and more extreme. 20 years ago Republicans hid their extreme religious and social plans behind a no taxes and limited government mask. Today, America saw what they had in mind. The Regent grads politicized the DoJ, requiring evangelical, anti-abortion credentials for employment. America saw that an anti-government party was incapable of running government anywhere but into the ground.

McDonnell is a religious extremist who can't represent all of Virginia

Posted by: thebobbob | September 1, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

How is reporting facts a "liberal bias"?
He wrote the 93 page paper (really more like manifesto, rivaling the Unabomber!), not a 20 but at 35 years old! The Post printed the paper. We read it.
====================================
This is exactly why I vote independent. The Republicans (especially in ole Virginia) will always come back to religion and establishing a theocracy. What happened to a simple fiscally conservative with some compassion toward others, without the religious overtones! Do they exist anymore??? Until then do not reward the DOGMATIC ROBERTSON Virginia Beachers. STOP IT NOW!!!

Posted by: vanzal1 | September 1, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

We know of Obama's academic career by the fact that we was the President of the Harvard Law Review. For those too ignorant to know, this is probably THE most elite position any law student can attain. We was the top person at the top law school. He then went on the teach Constitutional Law at one of the top law schools in the nation. I don't think you can get much more transparent or higher than that ... unless you want to say Regent Law is better? Facts are such a pain, aren't they?

Posted by: vanzal1 | September 1, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't vote for that neanderthal for all the burqas in the mall. If he winds and women end up barefoot, pregnant & in the kitchen, do I have to sell my 130 pairs of shoes??? THAT would really p()s me off.

Posted by: ms1234 | September 1, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

vanzal1-September 1, 2009

We know of Obama's academic career by the fact that we was the President of the Harvard Law Review. For those too ignorant to know, this is probably THE most elite position any law student can attain. We was the top person at the top law school. He then went on the teach Constitutional Law at one of the top law schools in the nation. I don't think you can get much more transparent or higher than that ... unless you want to say Regent Law is better? Facts are such a pain, aren't they?
=====================================
I suppose that depends on exactly how you define "facts"? While Obama was editor of the Harvard Law review, he did not write a single article, opionion, review or anything else for that matter. The position of "editor" is typically the person who tackles the most controversial topics. Maybe by coincidence there where no controversial topics while Obama was attending Harvard.

As for "teaching" Constitutional Law at one of the top law schools in the nation, wrong again lemming. Obama was not a Professor, he was a professor. As you say "for those too ignorant to know", there is a difference. Take the knee pads off and look it up imbecile.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | September 1, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"being a murdering dimoCRAP than a Republican."

Hmm.. it's as if you're not even trying to have your point heard by the opposition.

Posted by: Crucialitis | September 1, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Mere months ago, rivers of ink were spilled trying to convince the public that Obama's long-term and intimate relationship with a foully racist preacher was immaterial to his candidacy. Today, these same people are taking a man to task for a single paper he wrote two decades ago!

I am not pointing this out in an attempt to justify McDonnell's behavior. Others may disagree, but I do not think that McDonnell deserves to be governor. What he wrote was reprehensible and nothing Obama or anyone else may have done can justify it. McDonnell is responsible for his own behavior and two wrongs don't make a right.

Rather, I point this out to highlight the insane hypocrisy that has infected our political discourse. And while the Democrats are being hypocrites by attacking McDonnell, the Republicans are just as hypocritical in defending him.

If we believe that racism, chauvinism and bigotry are wrong, then we must fight it where ever we find it! We must NOT seek to justify it in one case and condemn it in another dependent upon our own political prejudice.

The party hacks will never realize this: there are MILLIONS of Americans who put principle (not necessarily the same principles as my own) before party and will not compromise or betray those principles according to political expediency and partisan politics. We are sick and tired of our nation being held hostage to the internecine bickering and anachronistic ideologies of these two criminal gangs, the false-faced, self-serving demagogues who lead them and their brain-washed, close-minded followers who are incapable of seeing anything other than in the black and white dualism of their pathetic, partisan lens.

Please wake up, America and see the world for the place of infinite nuance that it is and stop trying to reduce everything to a simplistic dichotomy of liberal and conservative! Start standing up for YOUR principles and YOUR nation instead of one party or the other!

Posted by: andrew23boyle | September 1, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I hope that when I'm 60 years old, I can disavow anything I said 20 years earlier. Hey, I was just a 40-year old kid then!

Posted by: bpai_99 | September 1, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Run that poll again, and this time include all the fornicators.

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/gop-scholarship-loses-crucial-virginia-fornicator-vote/

Posted by: MikeLicht | September 1, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell should have learned a lesson in "transparency" from Obama and locked all of his records.

Since he's a republican though of course the media double standard would apply.

The hypocrisy of the media and democrats is making half the words in the english language meaningless. Repeating them over and over and over til you're blue in the face doesn't make them true.

Posted by: Cryos | September 1, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party gets reduced to 25% of the population and becomes more and more extreme. 20 years ago Republicans hid their extreme religious and social plans behind a no taxes and limited government mask. Today, America saw what they had in mind. The Regent grads politicized the DoJ, requiring evangelical, anti-abortion credentials for employment. America saw that an anti-government party was incapable of running government anywhere but into the ground.

McDonnell is a religious extremist who can't represent all of Virginia


Posted by: thebobbob | September 1, 2009 4:31 PM
===========================
Actually if you look at REAL news sources you will find the Obama administration is politicizing the justice dept MUCH more than Bush.

Can you explain why prominent cases are being dropped against say Richardson for pay to play and the Black Panther vote intimidators with NO EXPLANATION?

Or how about the "yes we did" propaganda posters around the DOJ with new employees.

How about the firing of IGs investigating corruption?

How about the politically motivated CIA witchhunts now underway or considering disbarring WH lawyers for giving legal opinions?

Instead of just repeating talking point dribble try thinking for yourself for once and do your own research. You might find you don't know half as much as you think you do.

Posted by: Cryos | September 1, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Cryos, you said it so much better than I ever could. Thanks for articulating around the B.S. :)

Posted by: prossers7 | September 1, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Actually if you look at REAL news sources you will find the Obama administration is politicizing the justice dept MUCH more than Bush.
Posted by: Cryos | September 1, 2009 6:56 PM

ROFL!!

Yes, the Obama DOJ's practice of hiring attorneys with stellar credentials (graduation from top-notch schools, experience at top-notch firms, Federal Court clerkships, and a real understanding of Constitutional principles) is a heinous act of politicizing the DOJ.

Filling the DOJ with over 150 graduates of Regent University by the GWB administration greatly glorified the DOJ, as well as our Founding Fathers.

Up is down, left is right, black is white, and the earth is flat.

Posted by: jaysit | September 2, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse


==============
==============
A paid repuglican operative typing from a script in the basement of falwell university said:

"As for "teaching" Constitutional Law at one of the top law schools in the nation, wrong again lemming. Obama was not a Professor, he was a professor. As you say "for those too ignorant to know", there is a difference. Take the knee pads off and look it up imbecile."

He was assuming that nobody would. I did. It turns out that the difference is that you only capitalize the word when it is used in front of the person's name. Thus, it is true that Professor Obama was a professor.

The statement "Obama is a Professor" is also true; but it has a capitalization error.

However since the stupid people (who are the 'uglies' last hope) don't know that, Rove decided to add this distinction to the long list of lies they spread to foment mindless, unjustified outrage in the less-educated.

Their goal is to herd the dummies into replacing Obama with another Cheney, pack one more of their lackeys into the Supreme Court, then declare martial law and cancel elections. They already had written plans to imprison journalists, according to a Post article earlier this year.

The Dem's best strategy is not to take a defensive position and deny their lies; it is to point out that the thuglicans ARE telling lies and that the purpose is to fool people.

We have to refer to their lies as "lies" publicly, not just present true information. Not to do so is to go along with their game.

--faye kane, homeless brain.
Read more of my smartmouth opinions at http://tinyurl.com/fayescave

Posted by: Knee_Cheese_Zarathustra | September 2, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

So Knee Cheese is that not politicizing things by saying the other side is lying and then lying yourself? Who is politicizing who? This administration is worse than the last one it is trying to control the media, elections, amount of air time and his image, trying to outspend previous admins, bigger bailouts, much bigger deficits, record deficits yearly and decade wise, even trying to control the people's debate on health care reform, through bussed in supporters and counter protestors . If not fall off the cliff like any dutiful lemming.

Posted by: zcxnissan | September 2, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

My, Republicans are a rude and surly lot.

Posted by: nodebris | September 4, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

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