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DGA Puts Out Virginia Poll

Rosalind Helderman

Maybe the most interesting thing about the poll released today about the Democratic Governor's Association is that the national group is already paying good coin to poll the Virginia race. And this poll couldn't have been cheap--unlike a lot of polls that use robocalling to reach voters, this one involved live phone interviews with 600 Virginia voters. (We have great hesitancy about polls that use the other method to survey voters, as explained by Post polling director Jon Cohen a while back.)

It makes sense that the DGA would poll Virginia--the group has already spent $3 million on anti-Bob McDonnell advertising and they want to see if they're getting their money worth. They wouldn't have released the results if it didn't show their guy, Creigh Deeds, leading McDonnell.

Indeed, the poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research, shows Deeds with higher favorables than McDonnell (48 percent favorable/14 percent unfavorable for Deeds; 43 percent favorable/19 percent unfavorable for McDonnell)

It also shows Deeds leading McDonnell 52 to 48, numbers that pretty much indicate a tied race given the poll's 4 percent margin of error. And it shows that Gov. Tim Kaine's popularity remains high, helpful for Deeds as he runs as Kaine's natural heir.

"Republican Bob McDonnell faced no primary opponent, and spent nearly two million dollars on early paid communications, yet he begins the general election trailing Democrat Creigh Deeds," was the pollster's take on his results.

But Republicans note the DGA poll has some good news for them too: Those polled gave a generic Republican candidate a two point edge over a generic Democratic candidate. And McDonnell's folks note his favorable ratings are not that far off Deeds, despite that Deeds is coming off a big primary win and McDonnell has been facing down negative television ads for a while.

"After spending over $3 million on negative TV ads, today the Democratic Governors Association produced evidence that they have gotten nothing for their effort," said McDonnell spokesman Crystal Cameron in a statement. She went on to say that the race will clearly be "a competitive election focused on important policy differences between the two candidates."

We think that may well be right--the 2005 race between McDonnell and Deeds was a humdinger. This one could turn out to be the same.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 16, 2009; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Polls , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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