Despite thesis story, McDonnell hanging on in Va. governor race

John O'Brien Sep. 16, 2009, 2:00pm


RICHMOND (Legal Newsline) - Two Virginia Republicans hold leads in the races for governor and attorney general, a recently released poll shows.

Former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell is leading Democrat Creigh Deeds by five percentage points, while Ken Cuccinelli leads Democrat Steve Shannon 35-30, according to the Clarus Research Group poll.

A thesis McDonnell wrote in college 20 years ago has been making headlines. In it, McDonnell said working women hurt traditional family values and also argued against gay marriage.

Fifty-two percent of the 600 voters said they have heard about the thesis, and 63 percent of those said the story had no effect on their opinion of McDonnell.

"The McDonnell thesis story has not -- so far -- damaged McDonnell as badly as Democrats had hoped, but it hasn't left him unscathed, the way many Republicans had hoped," said Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus Research Group.

Seventy-six percent of those that said the thesis story made them feel less favorable towards McDonnell were Democrats.

Still, the 5-percent lead is smaller than McDonnell's previous. In other publicly reported polls during August and the first week of September, his average lead was 10.2 percent.

Thirty-five percent of those polled are still undecided in the race of Cuccinelli, a state senator, and Shannon, a state delegate.

Current Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has a six-point lead in his re-election effort. He is a Republican.

The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

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