Monday, June 1, 2009

Virginia Poll Tomorrow

Our penultimate Virginia poll will come out tomorrow morning. Two major trends appear to have driven movement in the race over the last week and a half and it's safe to say any of the candidates could win next week.

When Terry McAuliffe first talked about entering this race last summer, my immediate thought was that it reminded me of Janet Reno's run for Governor of Florida in 2002. Although she had much stronger ties to that state than McAuliffe does to Virginia, it was still an instance of somebody who had built their name in Washington hoping that would translate into votes back at the state level, a formula that doesn't have a lot of successful precedents.

The arc of this primary contest has been pretty similar to Reno's. Reno had a large lead in the polls over competitor Bill McBride for most of 2002, just as McAuliffe held a lead between 9 and 16 points in every independent public poll conducted between April 25th and May 21st. But Reno's lead proved to be fragile, polls in the week before the election surprisingly showed the contest within the margin of error, and McBride ended up winning a most unexpected victory.

The fact that McAuliffe has bought expensive air time in Washington DC for this final week seems to be a clear indication he knows he doesn't have this race wrapped up- it will be interesting to see if this celebrity candidate can avoid Reno's fate and pull it out in the closing days.

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