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Democratic Committee Meeting

Friday, September 18, 2009

Governor Race is a Toss Up

Dead Heat

The race to become the next governor of Virginia has gotten a lot closer. Right now, it’s effectively a toss-up between Republican Robert F. McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Virginia voters finds McDonnell attracting 48% of the vote while Deeds picks up 46%. Two weeks ago, McDonnell held a nine-point advantage. In August, McDonnell was up by eight.

All of those figures include “leaners.” Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate.

The survey two weeks ago was conducted shortly after The Washington Post ran news stories about a thesis paper written by McDonnell in 1989. The thesis reflected very conservative views on the role of women in society and other topics. Fifty-two percent (52%) of voters now say the writings are at least somewhat important in terms of how they will vote. That’s up from 36% in the previous survey. The number of unaffiliated voters who consider the writings important is up to 47%.

The Washington Post endorsement of Deeds played a key role in helping him win the Democratic nomination earlier this year.

McDonnell’s support remains a bit more solid than Deeds’. Eighty-one percent (81%) of those who plan to vote for the Republican candidate are certain they will not change their mind. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Deeds supporters say the same. Among those who are certain, McDonnell leads by seven percentage points.

The tightening of the race over the past two weeks comes from a shift in the views of voters who might change their minds. Currently, those voters are leaning in Deeds' direction. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Virginia voters have a favorable view of McDonnell while 50% say the same about Deeds.

McDonnell is down a point over the past two weeks while Deeds is up two.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Governor's Race Tightens

McDonnell leads by 5 points, "thesis story" solidifies Democrats for Deeds

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire

In a new statewide poll of Virginia's voters, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell posts a 5-point lead over Democratic rival Creigh Deeds.

In the survey, McDonnell polls 42 percent to Deeds' 37 percent with 20 percent undecided.

The poll was conducted by Clarus Research Group, a nonpartisan polling firm based in Washington, D.C., September 10-14, 2009.

McDonnell's margin, at 5 percent, is smaller than it had been in other publicly reported polls conducted between the first week of August and the first week of September, when McDonnell's average lead was 10.2 percent.

In the Clarus poll, Republicans lead in all three statewide races that will be on the November ballot.

"The McDonnell thesis story has not -- so far -- damaged McDonnell as badly as Democrats had hoped, but it hasn't left him unscathed, the way many Republicans had hoped," said Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus Research Group. The story's major impact has been to solidify the Democratic base for Deeds. It has had less impact on independents -- McDonnell beats Deeds by 7 points among them."

A big factor in this election will be Election Day turnout, especially by race," said Faucheux. "If African American turnout approaches the 2008 presidential election levels, it would be a major boost to Deeds' chances."

The electorate is highly polarized along partisan and racial lines. McDonnell defeats Deeds by 24 points among whites and Deeds defeats McDonnell by 77 points among African Americans. Neither Deeds nor McDonnell get more than 5% cross-over votes from the other candidate's party.

The survey's sample size was 600 registered voters with a margin of error = +/- 4 percent. The poll was conducted via telephone by live interviewers. It was not sponsored or paid for by an outside client. Clarus is not working for any candidates in the 2009 Virginia elections and conducted this survey for its own use. For more information about Clarus, and its president, Ron Faucheux, go to (Percentage totals are rounded and may not add up to

Other findings from the poll:

McDonnell leads by a 15-point margin in the southwest/western part of the state while Deeds leads in northern Virginia by 5 points.

McDonnell has a 9-point lead among men and the candidates are tied among women voters.

52 percent of all voters said they had heard about the McDonnell thesis story. Among them, 5 percent said the story made them feel more favorable toward McDonnell, 31 percent said it may them feel less favorable, and 63 percent said it had no effect.

Of women who said they had heard about the thesis story, 5 percent said it made them more favorable toward McDonnell, 35 percent less favorable, and 58 percent said it has no effect.

Of men who said they had heard about the thesis story, 5 percent said it made them more favorable toward McDonnell, 27 percent less favorable, and 67 percent said it
has no effect.

Of those voters who said they had heard about the thesis story and said it made them feel LESS favorable toward McDonnell: 76 percent were Democrats, 8 percent were Republicans and 16% were independents.

Of those who had said they had heard about the thesis story and said it had NO EFFECT on how they feel about McDonnell: 6 percent were Republicans, 34 percent were independents, and 29 percent were Democrats.

Good news for McDonnell: Despite the thesis story and related attacks, he remains the frontrunner with a lead (5 points) beyond the poll's 4-point margin of error.

Good news for Deeds: The thesis story has solidified his Democratic base and may have opened a window of opportunity to make this a competitive race.

Bad news for McDonnell: The thesis story has hurt, and may hurt more over time. Despite his current lead, McDonnell polls well below 50 percent. There remain a high percentage of undecided independent voters who will determine the winner. Twice as many independents are undecided than are Democrats and Republicans.

Bad news for Deeds: 83 percent of independent voters are white; at this point, Deeds is only polling 28 percent of the vote among all white voters statewide.

Gov. Tim Kaine does well enough in job approval (53 percent) to make it difficult for Republicans to run against him. However, Kaine's positives are low enough to make it difficult for Deeds to ride in on the incumbent's coattails the way Kaine, himself, did four years ago when Mark Warner was the highly popular incumbent governor.

Incumbent Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) leads Democratic challenger Jody Wagner, 38-32 percent, with 31 percent undecided. Republican Ken Cuccinelli leads Democrat Steve Shannon for Attorney General, 35-30 percent, with 35 percent undecided.

Senator Mark Warner has the highest job approval rating of any elected official tested in the state, at 61 percent.

Senator Jim Webb, also a Democrat, has a 47 percent approval rating and President Barack Obama has an approval rating of 48 percent.

SOURCE Clarus Research Group

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day Events

Amherst County Democratic Committee

September 2009

Dear Friends,

If you're like me, you're getting way too many emails these days. Candidates, PACs, pundits and more. But the old adage "all politics are local" comes to mind. It's entirely up to us, Amherst County citizens, to get our candidates elected. Look over the events below, and decide where & when you can contribute to these efforts.


Don't miss our monthly committee meeting, Tuesday, September 8th, 7:00PM: Madison Heights Library. Some highlights will include:

YARD SIGNS - Deeds and Price campaigns have each made at least 50 yard signs will be available to you. Other goodies, too. Pick yours up at the meeting.

CANDIDATES - Board of Supervisors, District 2: Candidates Bonnie Limbrick and Claudia Tucker will introduce themselves and take questions from the audience. Other candidates will be there, too, pending confirmation.

CAMPAIGN UPDATES - Amanda Peel, Regional Field Director for the Deeds Campaign, will update us on the Governor's race.


Labor Day Weekend traditionally begins the homestretch to Election Day, and there's no shortage of opportunities to participate, celebrate, and support your favorite candidates:

LABOR DAY PARADE - Buena Vista - Monday, September 7th. Lineup for the parade will be at Parry McClure Middle School on Magnolia Avenue at 9:00 AM. The parade will end at Glen Maury Park where there will be speeches by political leaders and candidates, including Governor Tim Kaine, Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner, Steve Shannon and Jeff Price.

We know that McDonnell is bussing in 100+ activists to give the impression of support here in Deeds Country. We need to respond in kind, but with our own, reality-based grassroots support. So, please plan to attend. We'll all have a great time cheering for our candidates. If you need a ride, or can share a ride, call or write asap and we'll get people together.

RSVP is not necessary, but will be very helpful for planning purposes. You can email Amanda Peel at, or call her at 651.356.5411.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY SETUP - In preparation for the Labor Day Parade, volunteers are distributing signs and participating in other activities to maximize "visibility" this weekend. Some are camping overnight to protect our signage, etc. Please come and help when you can, for as long as you can. Meeting point will be at Glen Muray Park. Meeting times are as follows:

Saturday 5th - 10:00am
Sunday 6th - 7:00am
Monday 7th - 6:00am for signage (9:00am for parade marchers)

LABOR DAY BREAKFAST - The Buena Vista Democratic Committee is holding a breakfast before the parade, 7:30AM. The breakfast is open to the public at a cost of $25.00 per person. If you wish to attend the breakfast you must RSVP to Ron Gravatt
Looking forward to seeing you all,


David Burford

Amherst County Democratic Committee

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