Creigh Deeds has now pulled to within five points of Bob McDonnell in the race to be Virginia's next Governor, and most of the remaining undecided voters are Democrats.
McDonnell leads 48-43. A month ago his lead was 49-42 and the month before that it peaked at 51-37.
McDonnell owes his continuing advantage to two primary factors: a 53-37 lead among independents and a much higher degree of unity within his party than Deeds enjoys. He is winning 96% of the Republican vote while Deeds is at 82% of the Democratic vote.
Deeds appears to have more room to grow. 53% of the remaining undecideds are Democrats while only 7% are Republicans. Although the fact that Deeds has not locked up those votes yet does show some degree of lukewarmness toward his campaign, those voters are still more than likely going to end up 'coming home.'
The increasingly negative tone of the race appears to be hurting both candidates' standing with the voters. McDonnell's net favorability has dropped from +22 (53/31) a month ago to now just +5 (47/42). Deeds has seen a similar although less dramatic decline from +12 (47/35) to +1 (43/42).
Bob McDonnell's thesis is having a mixed impact on the race. Only 2% of people who say they supported him a month ago now say they're going to vote for Deeds, so the extent to which the thesis is changing people's minds is limited. But it may be playing a role in increasing Democratic turnout. In our last poll those planning to vote this year had voted for John McCain by a 49-45 margin. Now the likely electorate voted for Barack Obama by a 48-45 margin, indicating intended Democratic turnout is now pushing closer to what it was last year. The thesis may not have turned McDonnell votes into Deeds votes, but it looks like it is helping to turn non-voters into Deeds votes.
52% of voters say they're very familiar with the thesis and McDonnell actually has a 55-41 with that group, reflecting the fact that Republicans are more engaged this year and following the campaign more closely. Deeds is up 56-41 with the 29% of voters who claim moderate knowledge of the thesis.
There's been little movement among women over the last month. What was a nine point lead for Deeds with them is now an eight point advantage.
This race is being defined largely by rigid partisanship. McDonnell is winning only 8% of the Obama vote and Deeds is winning only 7% of the McCain vote so by and large however you voted last year is the predictor for how you're going to vote this year. That means this is all going to come down to turnout. If the electorate looks the same way it did last November Deeds will probably pull this one out by the skin of his teeth. But if Republicans continue to be more energized (or Democrats are more disinterested) McDonnell will continue the lead he's held throughout the general election right through the finish line.
Down ballot Bill Bolling leads Jody Wagner 43-35 for Lieutenant Governor and Ken Cuccinelli is up 43-34 on Steve Shannon for Attorney General.
Full results here