For most of the general election campaign I've been saying that if the turnout patterns this year in Virginia were the same as last year in terms of their McCain/Obama spread the Creigh Deeds/Bob McDonnell race would be a tossup.
That was true as recently as three weeks ago but it's not anymore. McDonnell is winning 13% of the Obama vote while Deeds is only getting 5% of the McCain vote. If the electorate was weighted to last year's election results to make it 52% Obama voters and 46% McCain voters McDonnell would be leading 50-44.
That six point margin incidentally is identical to the lead we found for McDonnell in our first general election poll and my feeling is that's about what the result of this race would have been if the two candidates had run equally effective campaigns. McDonnell's has been superior and that's why it looks like his winning margin will exceed six points by a good amount. Deeds started out behind and he was bound to lose unless he ran an extremely superior campaign. Obviously he didn't.
It's a different story in New Jersey though. If you weight our most recent poll there to a 57-42 Obama electorate Jon Corzine turns a four point deficit into a two point lead with 41% to 39% for Chris Christie and 13% Chris Daggett.
We'll see if all his work on behalf of Corzine down the stretch makes that a reality. I've had several reporters ask me this week what the 2009 results mean for Obama- I don't think Virginia is his fault and if Corzine manages to lose I don't think New Jersey is his fault either. But if that electorate in NJ shifts enough over the final week to let Corzine win a narrow victory I think you can give Obama a lot of credit- and it will be a sign for Democratic candidates in 2010 that if you're running close Obama can get you over the finish line. But if you're not, then, you end up in the position where Creigh Deeds is.