THE PLANK OCTOBER 22, 2009
It´s too early to write off the gubernatorial aspirations of Creigh Deeds in Virginia, but if he doesn´t overcome a consistent lead by Republican Bob McDonnell in the next twelve days, you can be sure many pundits will attribute his defeat to Barack Obama.
There´s only one problem with this hypothesis: despite his extraordinary unpopularity in other parts of the South, the President remains relatively popular in the Old Dominion. According to pollster.com, Obama´s average approval/disapproval ratio in recent Virginia polls is 51/46. Even Rasmussen has him in positive territory at 53/47, and the latest Washington Post poll had him at 53/46. This is precisely the same margin by which Obama carried the Commonwealth last November.
Nor does general disdain for the Democratic Party appear to be the culprit. The current governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, is chairman of the Democratic National Committee. His average approval ratio at pollster.com currently stands at 53/39.
It´s always tempting to interpret state electoral contests as bellwethers for national political trends, particular in odd years like this one. But it´s usually wrong.
Ed Kilgore is Managing Editor of The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute.