Virginia Pro-Life Candidate McDonnell Still Leads After Deeds Attacks on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 12, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia Pro-Life Candidate McDonnell Still Leads After Deeds Attacks on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 12
, 2009

Richmond, VA ( — After attacking pro-life Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell on abortion, a new poll shows pro-abortion candidate Creigh Deeds hasn’t made any headway. A Rasmussen survey released today shows McDonnell with roughly the same lead as he had before Deeds went on the offensive Monday.

McDonnell has opened a nine-point lead over his Democratic opponent in the race for governor, which is one of the few marquee matchups in the 2009 election cycle.

The poll shows McDonnell leading Deeds 47% to 38% with three percent of voters preferring some other candidate and 12 percent undecided.

These figures reflect an improvement for McDonnell as Rasmussen had McDonnell’s lead at just three percent one month ago. Since then, he has gained three percentage points of support while Deeds has lost three percentage points.

When “leaners” are included, those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate, McDonnell leads 49% to 41%.

Fifty-three percent of Virginia voters have a favorable view of McDonnell, up three points over the past month. Deeds, who is hoping to be the state’s third Democratic governor in a row, is seen favorably by 48%, down a point from a month ago.

McDonnell’s disapproval rating of 30 percent is lower than Deeds’ disapproval rating of 39 percent.

Those numbers come despite Deeds’ new attacks on McDonnell.

Deeds, a state senator who backs abortion, recently joined abortion advocates for a rally in Annandale, which is the first of three events across the state to highlight the differences on abortion.

The goal is to gain support from voters in northern Virginia, where Washington suburban voters take a more pro-abortion position than the more pro-life voters who make up the rest of the state.

"I think it’s an area that shows a clear distinction between us," Deeds told the Washington Post over the weekend. "I’m a moderate guy, and I’ve been a consensus-builder my entire career. . . . My opponent is the guy who has pursued a socially driven ideological agenda who now is masquerading as a centrist."

McDonnell said the move shows Deeds’ campaign is desperate in light of three recent polls that all show him with substantial leads.

He reminded the Post in an interview that he and Deeds had agreed to focus on other issues affecting Virginia during the race.

"While I’m spending all my time talking about jobs and the economy and education reform and transportation, he is now beginning a run to the left to try to motivate his base," McDonnell said. "He talked about not engaging in the politics of division, but, of course, that’s exactly what he’s doing."

Deeds complained that McDonnell had spoken to the National Right to Life convention last year.

There, he thanked pro-life Virginians for their efforts, saluting "all you pro-life warriors for Virginia for all you’ve done to turn Virginia around and make it a pro-life state."

McDonnell says his record is the most mainstream on the issue as, during the last session of the state legislature, he supported bills to ban partial-birth abortions and require parental consent before a minor teen girl can get an abortion.

Holly Smith, the chair of the Virginia Society for Human Life PAC, tells that pro-life advocates in the state are squarely in McDonnell’s corner.

Smith said: "Virginia has a proud pro-life history and this election is vital to our continued efforts to protect innocent human life. Bob McDonnell has a proven record of fighting for protective pro-life laws in Richmond. Creigh Deeds is solidly pro-abortion. For pro-life Virginians, the choice is very clear — the pro-life ticket is McDonnell, Bolling and Cuccinelli."

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