The polls are in and they clearly show a much tighter race for the Commonwealth's next governor. Voters, especially women in Northern Virginia, are bothered by the social conservatism of Bob McDonnell reflected in his master's thesis; at the same time, they're wary of Creigh Deeds, who is still much an unknown quantity.
On the polling front, we have three recent ones. McDonnell leads in all three, but his lead is much smaller than a month ago, with a lot of voters undecided.
Rasmussen has it the closest, with McDonnell leading by a statistically insignificant 48%-46% margin. Daily Kos gives McDonnell the biggest margin, at 50%-43%. In between, we have the Washington Post, where Deeds had the most movement from the prior poll, closing the gap from 54%-39% to 51%-47%.
So where are we? McDonnell's master's thesis, in which he laid out a conservative "family values" political agenda intended to undercut working women, has clearly hit home with working women in populous Northern Virginia.
McDonnell says the thesis is old news and his views have "changed," but he has not been specific. He says "judge me on my record," but his record is in many ways consistent with his master's thesis, so we urge voters to do just that.
On the other hand, Deeds is having trouble convincing voters to vote FOR him. He is a weaker candidate than Tim Kaine and much weaker than Mark Warner when he ran for governor. He still hasn't taken on transportation, and has largely failed to connect with NoVa voters. (We feared this back during the Democratic primary.)
To win this race, Deeds is going to have to come on strong. We're waiting and watching!