If PPP’s latest poll is correct, we’ve actually got a dramatic Democratic primary here in Virginia: “Creigh Deeds has a slight lead with 27%, followed by Terry McAuliffe at 24%, and Brian Moran at 22%. All three candidates are within each other’s margins of error and if the election was today any of the trio could plausibly finish first or last.”
For those hoping for a McDonnell victory, each potential rival offers offsetting strengths and weaknesses. Deeds, who appears to be enjoying a late surge, is undoubtedly the Democrat who would be most competitive in the southern and western regions. But he would face an astonishing fundraising disadvantage; in a McDonnell-Deeds matchup, the Republican would have a mere 9.4-to-1 advantage in cash on hand.
Terry McAuliffe would present a relentlessly-energetic, best-funded rival, who could dip into gargantuan personal funds if needed. But some key demographics just plain don’t like him. In PPP’s poll, 35 percent of Democrats have a negative view of him. He has higher unfavorable ratings than favorable ratings among men, independents, and every age demographic above age 30. Oh, and also, among that really important demographic entitled, “all Virginians.”
And then there’s Brian Moran, who seems to have strangely faded into the background. He polls almost as badly among independents as McAuliffe, his fundraising is almost as bad as Deeds, he’s gone awfully negative on McAuliffe, and voters seem to be giving him no credit for his service in Richmond. Yet he’s the most “traditional” Democratic candidate in the race, and I had figured he was the safest bet.
Of course, if tradition holds, turnout will be in the extraordinarily modest single digits. So anybody who has a decent turnout machine should have an advantage.