For awhile, it looked like Creigh Deeds had some momentum as voters acquainted themselves with the real Bob McDonnell via his thesis.
But that momentum appears to have evaporated. A spate of recent polls show Deeds stalled about 6-9 percentage points behind McDonnell, who's done a good job of ignoring the jabs, and successfully tagged Deeds for "going negative" in the campaign. Virginia independents have shown a clear penchant in recent years to punish the candidate who goes most negative, so it looks like some of Deeds' recent work is backfiring.
An interesting contrast to Virginia is New Jersey, where incumbent Democratic governor Jon Corzine has steadily closed what had been a huge gap against his challenger, Republican Christopher Christie. The charts below, from Pollster.com, tell the story pretty well:
We said all along that Deeds was going to have to do more than just paint McDonnell as the super-conservative that he is. So far, Deeds hasn't managed to convince some Democrats, and many independents, that there are good reasons to vote FOR him.
Barring some major development in the next couple weeks, it looks like the Governor's mansion in Virginia will switch parties.
It's too bad--we thought all along that both Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe were more attractive candidates than Deeds. Unfortunately, they beat the crap out of each other in the Democratic primary, making way for Deeds. We hope something will change in the final days of the campaign, but we're not too optimistic.