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VA-Gov: McDonnell Soars in New SUSA Poll

by: James L.

Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 1:13 PM EDT

SurveyUSA (7/27-28, likely voters, 6/5-7 in parens):

Creigh Deeds (D): 40 (43)
Bob McDonnell (R): 55 (47)

Jody Wagner (D): 42
Bill Bolling (R-inc): 54

Steve Shannon (D): 42
Ken Cuccinelli (R): 53
(MoE: ±4.3%)

Whoa, those are some pug-ugly numbers for Democrats. Sure, McDonnell has gained back a bit of ground in recent weeks after Deeds' primary bounce faded, but are things really this bad for Team Blue? (The second and third head-to-heads listed here are the Lt. Governor and Attorney General races, respectively.)

One note of caution is that SUSA's voter ID composition for this poll has gyrated fairly significantly in the Republican direction. Back in June, their general election poll was composed of a 36% Dem, 34% GOP sample. This time, the poll is 38% Republican, 32% Dem. That's an unusually favorable spread for the GOP; recent polls by R2K and PPP had 39D-32R and 34D-33R samples, respectively. Not coincidentally, those pollsters also showed a tighter gubernatorial race.

UPDATE: One thing that I missed in my first scan of the poll is that SUSA asked voters who they picked for President in 2008... and according to this sample, it was 52-43 in John McCain's favor. (Obama won Virginia by 53-46.) Now, it could be that McCain fans are feeling pumped up these days and Obama voters are still taking a jenga break, but it's clear that we're dealing with a very different universe of voters here.

RaceTracker: VA-Gov

James L. :: VA-Gov: McDonnell Soars in New SUSA Poll
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The Governor and Attorney General numbers are pretty bad but are those Lt.Gov. numbers real? How is it that Jody Wagner is leading an incumbent by 12 points without it even being labor day yet? Is Bolling that unpopular?    

17, Gay Male, Democrat, NJ-8  

That was my response
Everyone I talked to here said Wagner couldn't win.  I still think she can, but those number don't pass the smell test.

30, male, Democratic, CO-01

[ Parent ]
Um whoops
My mistake -- those numbers should be swapped. I'll correct this promptly.

[ Parent ]
Well, We're About to Get Stopmed.
Dem rank and file won't turn out for any kind of election these days. It's going to take a lot of personal appearances and tv commercials in NoVA by Obama for Deeds to have a chance. Deeds will have decent margins, just poor turnout in the areas he needs it for.

26, Male, Democrat, TX-26

I can't accept that
Sure that would show up in polling but why didn't it show a month ago? 36-34 Dem to 38-32 GOP in a month? They must have used the same team they were using in Minnesota last year!

[ Parent ]
Almost speechless
So worse shape than Corzine? This can't be right.

I've been saying this will be a horrible year for us, but most people on here were convinced we were invincible and 2006/08 rompings would continue.  I think we lose both NJ and VA in walks sadly.


Oh brother
Here we go again...

I think general consensus is Dems will lose House seats whatever but far be it for that reality to get in the way of your extreme pessimism.

[ Parent ]
are there any races you feel good about?

[ Parent ]
Feels in all probability that Chuck Schumer will be re-elected next year.

[ Parent ]
than expected, though.  Seriously, it's gonna take a lot of hard work to keep Schumer in the Senate.

Pat Leahy's toast, though.

[ Parent ]

My blog
28, New Democrat, Female, TX-03 (hometown CA-26)

[ Parent ]
Or a snark?

My blog
28, New Democrat, Female, TX-03 (hometown CA-26)

[ Parent ]
His post title says "2009"
That just means NJ and VA... and yes this is not going to be a good year for us, since NJ has been a clear loss all year.

2010 is a different story.  Federal we will pick up seats, but Govs are a problem.  Of course the Govs all depend upon the econmy 15 months from now.

[ Parent ]
Tek's pessimism is in no way confined to 2009

[ Parent ]
I understand that, but this post said 2009
and the reply asked what races he felt good about, and basically there is only VA and NJ in 2009.

[ Parent ]
Not this again
I think I speak for everyone when I say that I've had enough of your chicken little trolling (to use a DK phrase). Nearly every post you've made has been a gloomy "sky-is-falling" prediction. I recall you saying that Tedisco would win NY-23 easily and he lost.

I recall few here saying we were invincible, but without fail, you were always there to be a downer.

[ Parent ]
When you are so negative then people believing modest House loses must seem like a landslide. Actually, I'm reminded of something...

[ Parent ]
Hee Hee! Good one! :-)
I just watched Goldeneye for the first time a few weeks ago, and that is easily the film's funniest line.

[ Parent ]
Well, Tedisco did start off with a major advantage
and with initial polling showing him about twenty points ahead I would also have rated it likely R.

Of course, we all know what happened.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
but Tek's prediction was made on election day itself, not during the initial polling.

I might have rated it Lean R at that phase, but I tend to avoid rating contests as I am not the best guager of such things.

[ Parent ]
Tekzilla 2010 Predictions
Senate - 57R 43D - Leahy barely holds on over Alan Keyes or it would be worse.

Governors - 43R 7D - Every D incumbent loses.  Brian Schweitzer, who is not up in 2010, somehow nearly loses anyway.

House - 435R 0D - Jose Serrano nearly holds on to his Bronx-based district, but narrowly falls to a Club for Growth funded winger.

President - John McCain is still in this thing.  Evidence emerges that Obama was asexually reproduced in a laboratory in Antarctica.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

[ Parent ]

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
It really is UpstateDem
"The Democratic Party is falling apart!"

The likeness is uncanny!

[ Parent ]
I think you conjured his unhinged Chicken Littlism perfectly.

Perhaps our old friend BillNolan (who has no business using the last name of one of the brightest up-and-coming directors) is trying to make a comeback?

[ Parent ]
I'm starting to feel like the Republicans did between 2006-2008
It seems that every poll that has been released recently shows the Democratic candidate performing below expectations.  Some of the races, specifically NJ-Gov and CT-Sen, are less surprising because of the candidate's own problems.  But others, like the CA-Sen and the VA-Gov poll truly looks depressing.  

The Democrats need to communicate to the general electorate that fixing the Healthcare crisis will reap benefits for the economy.  Many less-knowledged individuals are wondering why the Democrats are "fixated" on Healthcare while the economy remains in shambles.  The conservatives are leading a miscommunication campaign about Healthcare, and we need to do a better job of rebutting this miscommunication.

Regarding the VA-Gov race, what is shocking is that McDonnell is now leading among Independents by a 60-35% margin, as compared to 44-42% in June.  If you change the party affiliation to 36%D/34%R, McDonnell would have a lead of about 50-43%.  It's not too late for these numbers to change, but it's an uphill climb.

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

Obama can't get down there fast enough.  That said, I seriously think this is an outlier --- Steve Shannon, for example, is a terrific, moderate candidate who has the backing of the law enforcement community (uncommon for Democrats in VA from what I understand) and he's down by double digits?

Between a fading post-primary bounce, an inexplicable eight-point swing in Party ID composition, and the fact that this is seemingly an outlier regardless, I think that all explains the horrid numbers.  Take this one with a huge grain of salt.

Mixed views about survey usa polling
They had Coleman leading Franken in every poll by at least 9 points. I always think their polls favor republican candidates and overstate them. Rasmussen, a republican pollster, had it 44% to 41% in favor of McDonnell.

SUSA has routinely been the best VA pollster

[ Parent ]
I think they are very fair
They do have outliers though. And pretty extreme ones at that. Needs confirming first. And even if true...

[ Parent ]
Good point
When I saw this, I recalled that SUSA had done a poll very similar to this back in 2005.

Those ID numbers do seem screwy to me, and unless other pollsters start noticing this, I'm going to take SUSA with a big grain of salt.

[ Parent ]
Poll probably overstates it
However, I'll point out that if McDonnell wins, particularly if it's by double digits, he automatically becomes the best horse in the GOP stable for 2012.  He's handsome, charismatic, and will be electorally successful.  Obama needs to beat him now so he doesn't have to beat him in three years.

The Crolian Progressive: as great an adventure as ever I heard of...

Look at the crosstabs
McDonnell has a 56% to 41% lead in Northeast Virginia. Does this make sense to any of you that a republican, especially a conservative republican would even be leading there, especially by a margin of 15%??????? I think we may have a case of push polling going on here.

Especially from a 47-42 lead last month
I suspect this is just a screwy sample rather than anything sinister.

[ Parent ]
Push polling?
C'mon, dude, be serious. This is SUSA.

[ Parent ]
Who runs Survey usa
Is survey usa owned run by republicans, democrats, or is it an independent pollster.

I meant run not owned

[ Parent ]
Everyone take a deep breath
and relax.

This is one poll. One poll in the overall picture doesnt point to the end of someone (esp this far out) or automatically bring into question how trustworthy one of the biggest polling companies in the nation are.

Wait for the next poll to come out. If Deeds is still so far behind, then you Democrats can worry ;) Im not going to get too excited over this one poll until I see more of a trend. However, McDonnell has been the one with the wind in his sails lately.

A cat can have kittens in an oven but that doesn't make them biscuits.

Though I believe Deeds isn't currently advertising so that may be a factor.

[ Parent ]
Good point
Leave it to our main Republican ambassador to be a voice of calm.

[ Parent ]
It's hard for me to believe that it is really this bad, but we seem to be getting poll after poll in the last month or two showing the Democrat under performing prior expectations.  Even if this poll is way off, it still provides further evidence that Democrats may be facing an uphill political climate in 2010.  Of course if the economy starts to turn around, I think our numbers will start to rebound as well.

Presidential approval
Dodd, Corzine, Specter what else? Those three can't really be considered national barometers.

[ Parent ]
Lots more
MA-Gov, CA-Sen, NC-Gov, PA-Sen, LA-Sen, PA-Gov, NH-Sen.  Lots of other bad polls regarding favorability of Democratic politicians.

Basically, go to and go through the polls of the last month.  It's hard to find any polls where the numbers came out better than expected, but lots and lots of bad ones where the numbers are quite disappointing.

[ Parent ]
Most of those aren't unusual. Patrick has been making mistake after mistake. PA-Gov is a tossup as should be expected. The senate seat is open to all kinds of strange things. Melancon is in range despite the favorables. Ayotte is a decent get. Boxer was likely one of Rasmussen's funky deals. The only one I see is Perdue and she isn't up until 2012.

[ Parent ]
It will be a different universe of voters next year but that seems a little on the extreme side. Obama might just have to move to NoVa to pull Deeds over the top mind. We know the WH knows they can't afford to lose both races this fall from the Wilder article so in this case I'm confident the president will do his bit to get African Americans in particular out to vote.

This year
Mind too focused on midterms.

[ Parent ]
Can afford to lose
The President doesn't lose much if a couple of Democratic governors lose. Losing New Jersey and Virginia certainly wouldn't be preferable for Democrats, but hardly fatal. I don't see how it has any strong effect on national politics, aside from redistricting and spin.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  

[ Parent ]
You crazy?
Redistricting, that's how the GOP plans to get in power or cut down on the sizeable Democrat majority. They did it in 1994 and remember DeLay conspiring with Texas Republicans to dislodge almost 10 Dem congressman in 2004? Especially in Virginia where there are several vulnerable Dem seats swept in on Obama and Warner's coattails that could be taken over by the GOP if their districts are gerrymandered.  

19, Male, Independent, CA-12

[ Parent ]
already is a GOP gerrymander. They had control of the legislature and governorship in 2001. The State Senate is in the hands of the Democrats now, so redistricting will have to be bipartisan this time around.

[ Parent ]
Obama is President until 2012
Redistricting won't affect him until at least then. If with the really big Democratic majorities now in both Houses, he can't get his agenda through, it's not the Republican governors' fault if he's fucked. Meanwhile, if he DOES get good guaranteed health insurance through and the economy is saved, he will win a landslide in 2012 and have powerful coattails, regardless of gerrymanders in a few states.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  

[ Parent ]
If NJ and VA both go GOP...
Obama's honeymoon will be completely over.  In 1981, even though it was a split between the parties (VA-D, NJ-R), it was still spinned as a setback to Reagan.  Of course in the next midterms, the GOP lost 26 seats.

Deeds REALLY needs to win.  The Democrats need their best minds on this one, NOW.

[ Parent ]
You said it. Remember: All politics is local. Not always true, but usually true. "Throwing the bums [and their parties, in open-seat elections] out" in gubernatorial elections can easily be seen as the same kind of impulse that brought President Obama and all those new Democratic Representatives and Senators into office. Sure, the Republicans will spin it in any way they consider to their advantage, but that doesn't mean the voters agree or that it is likely to appreciably change the behavior of Democrats in Congress - too many of whom have been a problem since the inauguration (not to mention 2006), regardless. The danger is that if the Democrats in Congress DON'T pass guaranteed health insurance and dither while the economy falls into another trough, THEY'LL be the next bunch of "bums" to be thrown out - not that the loss of a couple of gubernatorial elections will inevitably cause that because of what party the losing candidates happen to belong to.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  

[ Parent ]
Re: Pres numbers
Now that is definitely off. Are there any math wizzes here who can recalibrate the statewide numbers when this discrepancy is taken into account?

Problem is, how much do you adjust?
Do you actually believe that the voter universe will be the same as 2008? that seems to me really quite far fetched.  

[ Parent ]
Agreed; not the same
But there surely is a problem with either the sampling or truthfulness of the respondents, if they report voting for McCain in such a high percentage relative to his actual votes.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  

[ Parent ]
But the answer is to take another poll, not to start adjusting by guessing. (This is why I reject weighting by party in general).

[ Parent ]
Not really susa's fault...
Sortof.  We all have to remember this is an automated poll, and from what I understand, they don't really mess with their data.  And that's the reason this poll is so screwy.  First of all, the campaigns basically came to a screeching halt after the primary.  Both candidates went off tv, and politics went out the window.  On the other hand, republicans are really pumped about their candidate.  They're just much more excited ahead of this election.  I'm from Va, and I can tell you any democrat following politics here is starting to worry big time, because the grassroots is simply not getting involved, and most in the netroots seem disgruntled that the Deeds campaign isn't trying to get people organized.  And that's what this poll boils down to: democrats are just not excited, for now at least, and so any poll this far ahead of the election is going to be very speculative.

[ Parent ]
I just tried using my math
I have a math minor and I use the program STATA from a stats course I took this spring, to run these numbers with different weights similar according to an aproximation of how people voted in 2008. These are the results
Deeds     48%
McDonnell 47%

Everyone can relax here.

[ Parent ]
Dem turnout will be down
That is given. I think your number is a little optimistic. I have no doubt McD is ahead but likely by high single digits at best/worst.

[ Parent ]
Plus you have to take into account that
Many people do not vote straight party ticket either. I have only gotten to vote in two major elections (2006 and 2008) but voted for many Democrats. I even voted for McCain while voting for me Democratic Congressman last year.

A 2008 Obama vote does not automaticaly = a Deeds vote.

A cat can have kittens in an oven but that doesn't make them biscuits.

[ Parent ]
True, but...
...I don't see someone who voted for Obama to be willing to vote for a conservative Republican.  Voting for a conservative Democrat in a lower ballot race but not for a more liberal Democrat in a higher ballot race or voting for the Democratic presidential candidate but for a moderate/liberal Republican lower down the ballot--I can see those as plausible.  Voting for a comparatively liberal black Democrat with an Arabic name but not for a more conservative, more rural Democrat, not so much.

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
You're making the assumption that every voter votes simply based on the issues, that's the problem.

[ Parent ]
I have a friend who is super conservative, and was shocked to learn recently that he voted for Obama.  He told me he couldn't vote for a ticket with Palin on it.  On the other hand, I can see him voting for McDonnell.  The problem for democrats right now is that republicans are portraying him as a moderate, when nothing could be further from the truth.  Perhaps during the campaign more of his conservative streak will come out, but we'll have to wait and see.

[ Parent ]
Some simple number crunching
If you go to a 34%R/36%D breakdown, I think the results will be something like this:

McDonnell 50-51%
Deeds     42-43%

What is killing Deeds is that the Independents are breaking sharply towards McDonnell.  In June, the Indies went 44-42% to McDonnell, and now they are going 60-35% to McDonnell.

I'm troubled by the NoVa numbers too.  I imagine that some of this info is not accurate.  In reality, McDonnell is probably ahead, but the lead may be around 5-6% instead of 15%.  My gut tells me the lead is around 8% at this time.

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
They did debate over the weekend

Write-up suggests McD got the best of it. Maybe a factor.

This is a crap poll
The internals are all screwed up, and nothing has happened in the race in the past month or so that would account for this big a shift towards the GOP. I can believe McDonnell is ahead, but not by 15.

McDonnell is trying to nationalize the election
Trying to tie Deeds to Washington Democrats. It seems to be working. Also, Deeds has been ducking Obama and Doug Wilder for some reason doesn't want to endorse him.  

He's not ducking Obama
He's having a rally and fundraiser with Obama next week.

As to Wilder, he's just being an attention whore (as usual).

[ Parent ]
Anybody else notice the gender split?
52% male, 48% female. Exsqueeze me?  

And McD leads among women 49-44
When Deeds lead 50-37 last month? Does not compute. Nothing about this poll makes sense.

[ Parent ]

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