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Deeds can win by dropping out

by: Joel McDonald

Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 07:57:06 AM EDT

Let me start this by saying that I don't harbor any animosity toward Creigh Deeds or wish him failure. I've heard him described as being a "salt of the earth" kind of guy. I believe he serves the people of Virginia the best way he can, but politics being as it is; he has stumbled here and there. I think we need leaders like Deeds, and I hope he'll continue his service in the commonwealth.

We now have three polls spanning 12 weeks in the current Democratic primary. By now, candidates and activists should be thinking about the best way to maneuver for a victory in November.

Joel McDonald :: Deeds can win by dropping out
These things need to be considered:

1. From the first poll to the last, only Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran have made significant progress with Moran leading by 7%.

2. Terry McAuliffe's unfavorables are 14% higher than Brian Moran's, and is actually higher than both Moran and Deeds combined. McAuliffe's unfavorables are high, and increase at a greater rate than both Moran and Deeds as the candidates gain greater exposure.

3. While Deeds has been able to increase his favorables at a greater rate than both Moran and McAuliffe, this is unlikely to generate a win for Deeds. There just isn't enough time.

4. According to the Public Policy Polling blog, 41% of respondents who have an unfavorable view of McAuliffe support Moran, while 31% support Deeds.

In light of the polling data, knowing that it's likely that McAuliffe's unfavorables could be approaching 40% at the time of the primary election on June 9th and "and still win the Democratic nomination with 35-40% of the vote if the anti vote is split too evenly" (PPP), I think it's time for Deeds, who trails both Moran and McAuliffe, to consider pulling out from this race to unite the party around Brian Moran as the Democratic nominee.

The nomination of Brian Moran, who's favorables should be 35% at the time of the primary election should increase the likelihood of a Democratic win in November as we will have nominated a more popular candidate and be able to better sustain momentum through the primary and into the general election.

The polling projects a win by Moran over McAuliffe with extremely slim margins. Deeds can decide the outcome of this primary, right now. He can win this election for Moran, strengthen the Democratic Party of Virginia, and better enable us to beat Bob McDonnell in November.

X-Posted from Virginia Beach Progressives

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Interesting analysis, but...
I think that Creigh deserves the chance to see his campaign through to the primary (and possibly beyond).  He has but considerable effort into his run, as have his supporters.  And I think it would do an injustice to send a message that they should drop out.  Besides, we don't know yet whether Creigh could rise above the divisions between the other two camps and go on to take the whole thing.

Although (disclosure) I will vote for McAuliffe, I have not been involved in any campaign.  Now will I.  I have made no donations to the governor's campaign (only the LG race).  I will support the nominee, whomever he is.  If is is Creigh, I will blog my heart out to help elect him (and help with GOTV).

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

aside from what I mentioned above, telling a large contingent of the party faithful to (just) walk would possibly alienate the supporters of Creigh for the general.  That would not just be wrong inmho, but also hurt all of us in the long run.

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

[ Parent ]
Not just walk...
Deeds endoring Moran is the way to go here, a good comparison of their positions, etc. I don't think the transition would be as difficult as one may think. Better now than later, I think.

- Joel McDonald

Virginia Beach Progressives

[ Parent ]
I don't think people are going to flock to Deeds because he's not in the thick of it.

- Joel McDonald

Virginia Beach Progressives

[ Parent ]
with over 40% undecided
and with no one knowing the shape of the electorate, it would be silly for anyone to drop out.

And you presume that the unfavorables are going to rise only on one candidate.  That is not how it normally works.  In fact, if Moran's campaign and/or supporters insist on being negative towards an opponent to the degree that some Moran supporters already are, that has the real prospect of turning off people, especially independents - who remember can vote in the primary.

I would suggest that it is quite premature for anyone to predicting victory or defeat for any of the three candidates.  We have debates.  We have an intense two months+ of campaigning.  Perhaps in 30 days or so the lay of the land will be more clear.

And by the 15th, when the financial reports are out, we will be inundated with news stories on who raised the most, who had the most donors, who has the most cash on hand, and what all that is supposed to mean.  That can have the effect of changing the framing of the campaign, if that becomes a major focus of the media.  

This is my world and welcome to it

Actually, Deeds is able to translate introduction (decrease in "unsure") to favorable at a greater rate than both Moran or McAuliffe. It actually looks like entering the race late may have hurt him in this regard, as there isn't enough time to get himself out there.

I'm interested to see how the trend compares with actual shifts in polling data.

- Joel McDonald

Virginia Beach Progressives

[ Parent ]
We have FIVE upcoming debates, this is still anyone's race.

Also, I don't see how Deeds dropping out automatically makes it easier for Moran to win. McAuliffe has massive statewide resources, he has the money & manpower to move in on Deeds' territory were he to drop out.

In this two-man race you're proposing, I'd vote for McAuliffe. Moran's campaign has been shockingly bad. It's not something I want to be a part of.


Chris Guy, you make a rally good point.
You make a really good point.  With many Virginians barely past the 2208 election cycle, many are not tuned into these races yet.  But following the debates, hopefully, more will be written and talked about.  Primary voters will tune in more, and things could be more fluid than we think.

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

[ Parent ]
Deeds does have the advantage of low expectations as far the debates go. He could wow people, and pick up some needed points.

- Joel McDonald

Virginia Beach Progressives

[ Parent ]
except debates are not his strong point
Creigh is a fine and thoughtful man.  He has little experience with the way most debates work.  We'll have to see if the format is such to place him at a disadvantage.

Here I might note that the one with the most experience on  television is by far McAuliffe, although that was either advocating for another person or for the Democratic party.  Still, he knows how to get a soundbite out on a tv camera, with more experience doing that than the other two put together.  

Many people have not yet heard Moran speak.  He still has traces of a Boston accent.  McAuliffe's traces of Syracuse do not catch the attention all that much.

Again -  will any of this matter?  We dn't know yet, which is why it is absurd to think that one of the candidates should now drop out.

In fact, that reasoning seems to be born of desperation on the part of Moran supporters, who feel they cannot win in a three-way race, and hope that in a two-way race against McAuliffe they might be able to prevail.   A confident campaign would say "bring 'em on."  

This is my world and welcome to it

[ Parent ]
You're right...'s not his strong point as well, which is why expectations are so low.

Interesting you bring up the Boston accent. How much do you think the accent will matter. I'm honestly interested. I was asked about his accent a couple weeks ago. I hadn't given much thought to it, but I guess it's a factor on some level.

I don't think it's all that absurd. I think it's close, real close, especially between Moran and McAuliffe. Deeds is trailing, and will likely continue to trail. I see Deeds as being someone who would rather see, is he doesn't win the nomination, that it go to Moran over McAuliffe. Perhaps dropping out now is premature, but doing so later and endorsing Moran should be a strategy on the table if trends continue.

Like I said, it'll be interesting to see if reality bucks the trend.

- Joel McDonald

Virginia Beach Progressives

[ Parent ]
By this logic...
Joel's candidate for LG should drop out.  I mean, we've had three polls showing Pat Edmonson trailing badly...

No, folks.  I'm not calling on Pat to drop out, and it is really ludicrous to call for Creigh to drop out.  I know that Brian wants a death match with Terry only, but it isn't going to happen.  And it should not happen.  

There are a lot of Democrats out in the hinterlands (west of I-95) who don't much like Terry, and who don't think that Brian speaks for them either.  And there are independents out in this neck of the woods who would vote for McDonnell before they'd vote for someone whom they would perceive as a Northern Virginia liberal (either Terry or Brian).  We've spent a lot of effort trying to persuade such people that they have a home in the Democratic Party.  For Creigh to drop out would cut the legs out from under that effort.

I know...
You don't make a point that I haven't already considered. However, Edmonson staying in the race doesn't seem to have an effect on who will win at this point if the data is accurate.

Do I think Creight has a chance at the nomination? Yes. There is a possibility. You can see momentum growing, but that momentum doesn't seem to be translating into people making the decision that they will vote for him.

There's a lot of common ground that could be used to compare Deeds to Moran. It's likely those independents will be choosing between not-Deeds and McDonnell anyway. Maybe the time to start prepping them for this is now?

- Joel McDonald

Virginia Beach Progressives

[ Parent ]
if the data has any meaning whatsoever
might be a better way of putting it.

Again, polling primaries is notoriously difficult.  We have no meaningful track record by which to gauge results from any poll, or even a trend over time.  The last Dem primary for Governor was '77.  In he LT Gov primary in 2005, there wereonly 115,000 votes cast.  In the Republican races, there were 175,000 for Gov and 170,000 for LT Gov, with only the latter a meaningful contest.   With both parties having primaries, that means a total of 290,000 votes were cast.

What if this race is 250,000 or more, just for the Dems?  Will the additional voters be crossing over from the Rs to try to tilt the Dem race to the weakest candidate?  If so, for whom then would they be voting?

Or might the increase be people newly energized first by the Obama campaign, and then by the dual Democratic contests?

What if any interplay might there be between the Gov and Lt Gov races?  For example, both McAuliffe and Signer have come out against Dillon.   Might people who oppose Dillon vote for both, either though neither has endorsed the other (and Signer was once a staffer for Deeds)?

Again, the premise of your diary is silly.

This is my world and welcome to it

[ Parent ]
It's sincere, though.
He's not saying "Drop out Deeds, you suck and will lose." Joel has employed some fairly convincing logic, though there are flaws, to argue that Deeds could help us win the election by uniting, at least to some extent, the anti-McAuliffe faction.

[ Parent ]
Factions are still fiction
to most of the folks that will be voting in the primary.

This race is still inside baseball among the few. It is still anybodys' game, and every candidate still has the opportunity to define the issues and win the debate.

It is far from certain that come election day McAuliffe himself will be the defining issue.

[ Parent ]
In my neck of the woods...
folk are still trying to come to grips with the idea that we won in the Presidential stakes. Far from feeling that "there just isn't enough time" (to generate enthusiasm for Deeds; your #3 point), most people here think that full-blown (primaries) campaigning probably shouldn't start till May, to cut down on the nuisance factor (5 weeks of being nagged to death is not enough???). Indeed, I've heard some people say that McAuliffe's "winter offensive" is obscene.

In my neck of the woods...
people like Deeds (and so do I, to match Kathy "disclosure for disclosure") for being "reasonable", and because he's "one of us" and because he's "paid his dues". We don't see any reason he should resign now; he's been building up to this for a long time and has as good a chance as any. He may be trailing, but he's picking up some favourables without piling up new unfavourables. Where two cocks (McAulife and Moran) are fighting, there's always a chance that the third (Deeds) will walk away with the hen. And his chances against McDonnell are no worse than Moran's (or McAuliffe's); he's ran against Bobby before and done well enough, in a much less favourable "environment" .

In my neck of woods...
we don't like McAuliffe, but we have no particular love for Moran, either -- we don't know him, except as a "Northerner", and McAuliffe has more money, which translates to "has a better chance at wooing".  So, should Deeds drop out, it's fifty-fifty as to who'd get his leavings and, even if he did endorse Moran (and why should he?), there's no telling that we'd act "all sheeple" and do as he told us.

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