Public Policy Polling (whoever they are) conducted a poll of Virginia voters about the presidential race this past weekend, and also asked respondents about next year’s governor’s race. The results put Bob McDonnell up 5-6% above either Sen. Creigh Deeds or Del. Brian Moran, which is within the 3.3% margin of error. Honestly, I’m awfully surprised that McDonnell is polling so low. He’s a statewide incumbent, and that ought to translate into a 10-15% advantage at this point. The other surprise is that Moran and Deeds are tied — Creigh just ran for AG in ’05, so I’d assumed that’d be good for at least a few points over Moran. (Nota bene: Creigh Deeds is my senator, and I am supporting him in this primary.) The most interesting number is the 40% of the electorate that’s undecided. That’s a whole lot of territory for these guys to fight over in the months ahead.
The only conclusions that I’m willing to draw, tentatively, is that McDonnell is doing a poor job of taking advantage of the power of incumbency and that Moran has done an effective job in campaigning statewide over the past couple of years. On the whole, though, these numbers tell us very little. We’re seventeen months out, and we have three guys who are tied within the MoE. The internals tell us nothing about whether these pollsters are pushing leaners — though with the 40% undecided, I doubt it — and anything and everything could change between now and November of next year. At this point prior to the ’05 governor’s election, we were still basking the glow of the DPVA’s ongoing eavesdropping lawsuit against the RPV; we’re still a long way out.
Oh, and Mark Warner leads Jim Gilmore by a 31% margin. But I’m not worried — Warner’s numbers will climb.