Tuesday, May 5, 2009

McAuliffe takes the lead in Va.

After three months of polling showing the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Virginia in a statistical tie, Terry McAuliffe has broken out from the pack, taking a ten point lead over Brian Moran.

McAuliffe is now at 30%, followed by Moran at 20%, and Creigh Deeds at 14%.

McAuliffe has done a very good job of building up support in areas where none of the candidates have an inherent regional base. He is polling over 35% and has a lead of at least 20 points in the Tidewater region, greater Richmond, and Southside. He's also built a strong lead with African Americans.

There are still plenty of votes up for grabs though. 36% of respondents were undecided, and even among those with a preference 41% said they could change their minds between now and the primary. That means only 38% of the electorate is firmly committed to a candidate and gives Moran and Deeds plenty of room to move up.

In addition to taking the lead McAuliffe saw a strong increase in his positive name recognition over the last month, going from a 32/29 favorability spread to a 42/25 one. This is where the difference in the candidates' financial resources makes a big difference, as Moran and Deeds saw basically no change in their name recognition over the last month with both of them still unknown to more than half of the electorate. Deeds went on the air for the first time right after the conclusion of interviewing for this poll so his numbers may look better the next time.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor Jody Wagner continues to hold a solid lead at 18%, compared to 7% for Michael Signer and 6% for Jon Bowerbank.

Full results here

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