A trend has emerged in the last couple of poll results: Sen. Creigh Deeds is pulling even with Bob McDonnell. Clarus research group’s poll came out a few days ago, showing McDonnell 5% ahead of Deeds, much closer than Deeds had been. But who is Clarus? I have no idea. So I ignored it. But today comes Rasmussen’s poll showing them within the MoE, McDonnell at 48% and Deeds at 46%. These guys are tied.
(Incidentally, this is exactly where the Kaine/Kilgore race was at four years ago today, with another interesting parallel: Kilgore was also presenting unconvincing answers in the face of questions about his stance on social issues, leaving newspapers demanding responses and conservatives blustering that the media was all on Kaine’s side. Déjà vu.)
What’s changed in the past couple of weeks? Well, Rasmussen found two weeks ago that only 36% of respondents cared about McDonnell’s far-right thesis. But in their latest results, 52% say that it’s affecting their vote. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, this thesis is a slow burn. The release of the thesis isn’t the event of note—it’s the basket of goodies for Democrats to hand out. You’re a woman? Here’s what McDonnell thinks of you. You’re gay? Here’s what McDonnell thinks of you. You don’t favor a Christianist government? Here’s what McDonnell has to say about that. And so on. If polling firms keep asking about this thesis, I bet that the percentage of people who say that they care about it will go down, but the percentage of people whose vote is influenced by the beliefs that he espouse in it will go up. The thesis isn’t an end, it’s a means.
As I wrote when Sen. Deeds received the nomination, Deeds has made a career out of being underestimated. It was the nut of his strategy to win the nomination, and it panned out perfectly. He makes like he’s just a helpless hick who don’t know nothin’ ’bout no book larnin’ and then—wham—his opponents are sunk. If anything, I worry that he’s peaking too early—I’d rather he not pull even with McDonnell until mid-October. But I’ll take it.