New -- and perhaps the first -- polling numbers are out for the 2009 gubernatorial race in Virginia, made more famous by the inclusion of Terry McAuliffe in the Democratic field.
With the election 11 months away, the former DNC chair seems decently positioned to secure his party's nomination, certainly for a candidate associated with high-society Washington D.C. than downstate Virginia values.
Among Democrats, McAuliffe is viewed favorably by 20% of voters, while 52% have a favorable view of his candidacy. Another candidate in the primary race, Rep. R. Creigh Deeds, is most popular -- "with 55% viewing him favorably, including 23% who are very favorable." Rep. Brian J. Moran, is faring slightly worse than McAuliffe, with 48% of Democrats viewing him favorably and 15% regarding him very favorably.
Moran is the only one of three Democratic hopefuls who beats the Republican favorite, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, in a hypothetical straight match-up. And in this count -- which has some bearing but is not as important in the context of the Democratic primary -- McAuliffe is faring worst among the three lead candidates.
What do the results (taken from a pool of 500 voters tell us)? With the primary to be held in June, they suggest that McAuliffe, who lives in northern Virginia, may not be fatally handicapped by the "outsider" taint his opponents are hoping to cast upon him.
"Terry McAuliffe doesn't fit Virginia's New Democratic tradition," Moran spokesman Jesse Ferguson, told Politico a few weeks ago. "Virginians will wonder if he's running for the right reasons."
While opinions are bound to change over the course of the next six months, that could work well to McAuliffe's advantage. A prodigious fundraiser with tons of big money connections, he is bound to have the cash to blanket Virginia's airwaves.