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VCU poll gives Bob McDonnell healthy lead

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The  Wilder School of Government at Virginia Commonwealth University just released a poll that gives Republican Bob McDonnell an 18 point lead in the race for Governor, with less than a week to go.

Here is the breakdown:

McDonnell- 54%

Deeds- 36%

The numbers include so called “leaners”, who have yet to say they are definitely voting for a candidate, but are leaning in on direction.

One nugget from the poll that I found interesting: “Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) likely voters see McDonnell as conservative or very conservative, while 16 percent call him moderate.” Yet, despite McDonnell’s clear conservative leanings, independent voters, according to this poll, are breaking for the Republican 56-29. It is perhaps even more evidence that the Deeds camp attack of McDonnell’s controversial masters thesis, never stuck.

The full release from the poll can be found after the jump..

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Written by Ryan Nobles

October 28, 2009 at 10:23 am

Obama attempts to convince supporters that Deeds can win

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Here is my report from NBC12 News at 11 on President Barack Obama‘s visit to Norfolk on behalf of Creigh Deeds.



Written by Ryan Nobles

October 27, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Obama set to rally for Deeds despite bleak poll numbers

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It is perhaps the last chance for Creigh Deeds to turn around his campaign for Governor. This afternoon, the President of the United States will headline a rally for the Democratic nominee at Old Dominion University in Norfolk.  Despite Barack Obama‘s visible support at a rally that is certain to get heavy media attention, Deeds is still running uphill against polls that show the race slipping away and indications that the White House isn’t interested in tying itself too closely to his campaign.

Yesterday, the Washington Post released a poll that showed the Republican Bob McDonnell with an 11 point lead. A poll released by Survey USA this morning, shows McDonnell up 17 points and finally Public Policy Polling‘s numbers have the GOP nominee up 15. The latest Real Clear Politics average has McDonnell up by double-digit margins and it doesn’t include the two polls released this morning.

In addition to McDonnell’s commanding lead, all three polls show healthy leads for the down-ballot Republicans as well.

But it is not just ugly poll numbers that the Deeds campaign woke up to this morning that threatens to put a damper on what should be a key moment in the campaign. In addition to a heavily read story last week by the Washington Post that featured anonymous White House staffers distancing the President from Deed’s troubles, today many Democrats are pushing the internal data from the Washington Post poll that indicates that Virginia voters don’t blame Barack Obama if Creigh Deeds isn’t successful.

It is not the kind of story, you’d expect Democrats to be touting if they thought today’s rally with the President was the key to the Deeds comeback with only one week to go.

The Deeds/Obama rally is set to start around 5pm this evening. We will have complete coverage on NBC12 during our early evening newscasts and a wrap of the event tonight at 11pm.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 27, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Wagner defends Deeds on Public Option

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Ryan Nobles – bio | email

From almost the moment the words came out of Sen. Creigh Deeds‘ mouth last night during the final gubernatorial debate, a cry went out across cyberspace from Democrats angry that their candidate would even consider opting out of the public option, if it were to pass in Washington.

The public option is a very controversial aspect of the Obama administration’s efforts to reform health care, but for some hard core Democrats, who have been waiting for the opportunity to enact what they view as real health care reform, it is an “all or nothing” proposition. Last night, Deeds clearly indicated that he was not among those who view the public option as the only avenue to real health care reform and left open the possibility that if the plan passes and raises costs for Virginians he would consider finding a way for the state to “opt out”.

I spoke today to Jody Wagner, the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor and the wife of a physician. Wagner told me that she did not see Sen. Deeds’ comments and did not have the chance to talk to him about the issue, but she is sure that her views are not far from her ticket-mate.  “If the public option passes and the President signs it, I think that we should take part,” said Wagner, but then she added,  “as long as it doesn’t result in higher taxes for Virginians and is revenue neutral.”

Wagner said that it is difficult to agree to a “public option only” platform, because there is no clear definition as to what exactly what the public option is. She said though that she couldn’t imagine a scenario where the Barack Obama led Federal Government would pass a health care reform package that included a public option, that wasn’t good for Virginia. However, she left open the possibility that if for some reason they did, Virginia could back out.

“Asking me to say, I categorically under all circumstances, would support it is tough because It depends on whether it is going to cost Virginia taxpayers more, whether it is going to be affordable for the state, whether it accomplishes the goals of increasing access,” said Wagner.  “It is sort of theoretical.”  Her comments to me, seem a bit different from what she told liberal blogger Ben Tribbett, according to a post on his popular NotLarrySabato blog, where Tribbett claims that she committed “unequivocally that she would fight any attempt to “opt out” of a federal health insurance option.”

Despite the parsing of her exact stance on the public option, Wagner pointed out that where she and Sen. Deeds stand is a far cry from where her opponent Bill Bolling and his ticket-mate Bob McDonnell stand.  Wagner accused the incumbent Bolling of being a pawn of the insurance industry, not interested in doing anything to help drive down the cost of health care.  (Bolling works in the insurance industry, but is not a licensed to sell health insurance.  The position of Lt. Governor is only a part time job.)

“Bill Bolling is a health insurance executive and he comes at this entirely differently than I do, he comes at it from the perspective of protecting insurance companies,” Wagner said.  “He spent his legislative career doing that. If you look at his Senate votes he voted against the patient’s bill of rights which meant voting in favor of requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions, against requiring access to a specialist against allowing someone who is very ill having a specialist as their primary care physician and against being able to sue an insurance company for negligence if you know, they cause harm to a patient.”

The Bolling campaign responded to the Wagner charges in this prepared statement from Campaign Manager Matt Wells:

“Lieutenant Governor Bolling disagrees strongly with Ms. Wagner on the so called Public Option. He does not support turning our health care delivery system over to the federal government because he knows this will lead to higher taxes and take health care decisions out of the hands of patients and turn them over to federal bureaucrats. It is unfortunate that Ms. Wagner has chosen to turn her back on the people of Virginia on this very important issue to stand with Nancy Pelosi and other high-tax, big-spending Washington liberals, but that doesn’t surprise us a bit.

As far as Ms. Wagner’s other comments are concerned, they are just more of the same kind of lies that Ms. Wagner has been telling about Lieutenant Governor Bolling throughout this entire campaign. Lieutenant Governor Bolling is not a health insurance executive and he is not employed by a health insurance company. The Lieutenant Governor is not even licensed to sell health insurance. He is an independent insurance agent who sells property and casualty insurance, not health insurance. He represents his clients and protects their interests, not insurance companies. Ms. Wagner just can’t seem to get any of the facts in this campaign right.”


Audio clips from conversation with Jody Wagner can be found below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 21, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Obama encourages Virginians to get “Fired Up” for Deeds

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Any thought that the President of the United States was working to avoid getting involved in the race in Virginia can now officially be erased. Despite Creigh Deeds trailing in every single public poll, Barack Obama has decided to go “all in” in a last ditch effort to get the  Democrat elected Virginia’s next Governor.

In addition to scheduling his second visit to Virginia on behalf of the Deeds’ campaign, Mr. Obama is featured in a new television ad, where he encourages the voters in the Old Dominion who helped him become the first Democrat in 44 years win a presidential election in Virginia to come out and support Deeds.

While the President did not shoot any new material to create the ad, it does feature video from Obama’s previous visit to the Commonwealth in support of Mr. Deeds. At one point he asks the crowd “to get fired up once again so that we can go towards the future, with Creigh Deeds leading the great Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The ad can be seen below:

It is not only significant that the White House has deemed the Deeds’ campaign a worthwhile investment, but the new ad demonstrates a marked shift in the Deeds’ campaign strategy. While Mr. Deeds has never separated himself from the President, he has not gone out of his way to embrace him. He of course, refused to call himself an “Obama Democrat” during the second Gubernatorial debate. It was something I asked him about during our exclusive interview last week.

This very public connection between Deeds and Obama, could show the campaign’s effort to fire up a base that polls show to be less than enthusiastic about the Democrats’ campaign.


The Deeds’ campaign has confirmed that President Obama will travel to Old Dominion University for a rally next Tuesday. The latest details are after the jump.

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Written by Ryan Nobles

October 21, 2009 at 10:59 am

In uneventful final debate, candidates stray from their base

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Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds provided few fireworks in their final debate before the November 3rd election. Both candidates stuck largely to their battle tested sound bites and did not take many risks in a debate that was televised only in the Western part of the Commonwealth.

There were a few interesting moments during the hour long forum, two of which came early on in the debate during the portion focused on transportation. Creigh Deeds criticized his opponent’s plan using strong langauge in an attempt to show that just because you have a plan, doesn’t mean that it is the right one for Virginia.

Here is the clip:

But McDonnell found a subtle, yet effective way to counter. It was perhaps the Republican’s strongest moment in the debate and he only had to say four words.

Here is the clip:

Outside of the transportation debate, we didn’t learn that much we didn’t already know about these candidates and their positions. However, but McDonnell and Deeds found themselves in somewhat uncomfortable positions when they were forced to discuss issues that their bases care deeply about, but can sometimes turn off independent voters.

For McDonnell that was abortion. It is an issue that the Deeds campaign has sought to characterize him as outside of the mainstream on. When asked directly about the issue, the Republican found a way to soft pedal his response. Here is the clip:

Creigh Deeds found himself in a difficult position attempting to describe his stance when it comes to the public option of health care reform. Polls show many Virginians leery about a possible public option for health care, but strong Democrats, the type Deeds needs to come out in two weeks are passionate about making sure it is a part of any health care reform package. When discussing the public option, Deeds said he wasn’t sure it was the best plan and he even went as far as to say as he would explore Virginia opting out if the state is able.

Here is the clip:

This revelation during the debate caused for an interesting post-debate press gaggle, one the Republican Party of Virginia was only too happy to share with reporters only 37 minutes after the debate had ended.

Here is Deeds clarifying his stance on the public option:

So with that the final debate is in the books. Less than two weeks to go before Virginia elects its next Governor.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 20, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Monster day on the campaign trail

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It is at it should be with now only two weeks to go before election day. A full slate of an important and potentially pivotal political events take place on Tuesday as candidates make the sprint toward the final vote.

First- two new polls out yesterday, both good news for the Republicans.

*A CNU/WCVE/Virginian Pilot poll has Bob McDonnell running away with the election. The poll has McDonnell up 14 points and the rest of the GOP was up as well. The poll did not include so called “leaners”, meaning that the undecided pool was very large. As expected Democrats poked fun at the results.

*The second poll, released this morning by Clarus Research Group shows McDonnell leading by a comfortable 8 points. This same poll, taken a month ago showed Creigh Deeds closing the gap. In a release the poll’s director Ron Faucheux wrote that “Deeds has failed to gain sustained momentum,”.

*A third poll, from Public Policy Polling is expected to be released later today.

Secondly- Even though Deeds is behind in the polls today marks the start of a big push to get his voters to the poll.

*Today in Northern Virginia the Democratic Nominee will hold a rally with Former President Bill Clinton and his former rival Terry McAuliffe. The Macker, is back buzzing on social media sites this morning, pledging that Deeds will beat the odds and he will then win a bet he made with Republican strategist Karl Rove on Fox News Sunday.

*Deeds is also specifically targeting the African-American vote today with the help of the group “Black Women for Obama for Change”. This very engaged organization of African-American women worked hard to get the black vote out for Barack Obama in last year’s election. Today they begin phone banks across Virginia featuring prominent black leaders encouraging their community to come out to vote.

*The Deeds team is also attempting to get women excited about the Democratic campaign. First Lady Anne Holton and VEA President Dr. Kitty Boitnott will lead a bus tour through Central Virginia that talks specifically about education. The bus will make stops in Charlottesville, Petersburg and Richmond.

Oh.. and there is a DEBATE tonight

*The final debate between Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds will take place tonight at Roanoke College in Salem. It will produced by our affiliate WSLS. The Debate will be seen in only a few television markets throughout the Commonwealth, but you can watch the debate streamed live on our web site NBC12.com.

We’ll have complete coverage of all of this activity throughout the day, including a complete recap of tonight’s debate on NBC12 news at 11.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 20, 2009 at 11:36 am

McDonnell pledges to serve entire term

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Ryan Nobles – bio | email

In an exclusive interview on NBC12 First at Four, former Attorney General and current Republican Nominee for Governor of Virginia,  Bob McDonnell told me that he will serve every day of his four year term, if he is elected Governor on November 3rd.

Even though McDonnell has yet to win this race for Governor, pundits in many circles are already speculating that if he were to be successful that he would automatically be propelled into a small group of legitimate contenders for the 2016 or perhaps even 2012 Republican nomination for President.  While it may be premature to consider a man who has yet to even win a Governor’s race as a potential candidate for the nation’s highest office, remember that McDonnell recently stepped down from the Attorney General’s office to run for Governor.

The Republican told me, if elected he will serve his entire term.

Here is the transcript:

Ryan Nobles: Were you to win on November 3rd, you would almost automatically become a prime candidate for the GOP nomination for President. Will you make a commitment right now that you were you to win on November 3rd that you will stay for your entire four year term and not run for President in 2012?

Bob McDonnell: Absolutley, I think those are all pipe dreams down the road. You know there is a number of national political pundits that are paying an exceptional amount of attention to Virginia. I am running to be Governor of Virginia, this is a state that I have lived in virtually my entire life. I love this state we have great opportunities ahead for the state to create more opportunity and prosperity for our citizens, in so many ways, I am fully committed to four years as Virginia’s governor.

Ryan Nobles: You’ll be there from the start right until the end.

Bob McDonnell: Absolutely, we need a full time Governor.

{end of transcript]

Perhaps a little dig at the end toward Governor Tim Kaine, who is currently serving as the Chair of the DNC at the same time as serving as Governor?  Of course Kaine himself was rumored to be a finalist as then Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate in the race for President last year.

McDonnell could potentially run for President, while serving as Governor at the same time, but balancing the two jobs is difficult and Virginia has a history of not looking kindly on their Chief Executive attempting to do both.  If he remains true to this pledge, it won’t be something he has to worry about.

McDonnell also answered questions about his controversial master’s thesis, his plan for transportation and the remarks caught on camera by his prominent supporter Sheila Johnson.

You can see the entire interview below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Bob McDonnell to appear on NBC12 First at 4

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mcdonnellThe Republican nominee for Governor and Virginia’s former Attorney General, Bob McDonnell will be my exclusive guest today (Monday) on NBC12 First at 4. McDonnell’s opponent, Sen. Creigh Deeds appeared on First at 4 on Thursday.

McDonnell’s appearance comes with only about two weeks left in the campaign and on the heels of a bit of momentum for his opponent. Sen. Deeds picked up the endorsement of the Washington Post over the weekend and learned that both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton will stump for him in Virginia prior to election day.

However, McDonnell is brimming with confidence. He has held a steady, if not commanding lead in the polls since the beginning and has become the poster child for the Republican recovery around the rest of the nation. We will touch on McDonnell’s role in national politics as well as getting his take on transportation, his controversial masters thesis and more today at 4pm on NBC12-TV. If you can’t get to a television in the Richmond area at that time, First at Four is streamed live on NBC12.com, and I will post the entire interview here on Decision Virginia soon after the program ends.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 19, 2009 at 10:16 am

Obama set to return for Deeds/ McCain stumps for McDonnell

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As Democratic candidate for Governor, Creigh Deeds promised me on Thursday, President Barack Obama will return to Virginia in support of his campaign. The White House and The Deeds campaign confirmed that Obama will join Deeds at an event on Tuesday October, 27th. Exactly one week before election day.

The specifics of the event, (where in Virginia and at what time) have yet to be released. In part for security reasons and in part so the Deed press operation can get at least two more big media cycles out of the visit. (The release of the location and the event itself). Deeds staffers told me yesterday all they know is the that the event will be “somewhere in the Commonwealth.” The Deeds team was visibly excited when they learned of the President’s confirmation and are hopeful this could lead the burst of momentum at the end that their candidate is known for.

Meanwhile, the Republican Bob McDonnell brings star power of his own to Virginia today (Saturday). Sen. John McCain, the most recent Republican nominee for President will headline a “Veterans for McDonnell” rally in Virginia Beach. While McCain lost Virginia to the current President last year, he still remains popular in parts of the Old Dominion, particularly with Veterans’ groups. McDonnell, who often points to his own military record, is hopeful that McCain can help to energize that voting block.

The McCain event takes place at the VFW Post 392 in Virginia Beach. The doors open at 10am, the program begins at 10:30am.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 17, 2009 at 10:16 am


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