A new survey of Virginia from Public Policy Polling (D)
finds Republican former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell with a big lead over Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds -- with GOPers currently a lot more motivated to be likely voters right now.
The numbers: McDonnell 51%, Deeds 37%. A key number: 52% of respondents voted for John McCain last years, compared to 41% who say they voted for Obama -- even though Obama carried the state by 53%-47%. This is fully consistent with last week's SurveyUSA poll
, which put McDonnell ahead by 55%-40% on a sample that McCain carried by 52%-43%. (Numbers on this question never add up to 100, because some respondents won't divulge how they voted.)
From the pollster's analysis: "It's not that voters are changing sides from last fall- the 5% of John McCain's voters planning to vote for Deeds is actually equal to the 5% of Barack Obama's voters planning to vote for McDonnell. But Republicans, on a losing streak in Virginia, appear to be more motivated about heading to the polls at this point three months before the election."
So the big question for Deeds, then, is whether he can energize all those Democratic-leaning people who aren't likely to vote now, and turn them into participants in future polls -- especially that one in November.