By Garren Shipley -- email@example.com
Bob McDonnell's lead over Creigh Deeds is continuing to grow, according to a new survey released Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports.
The former GOP attorney general has opened up a 9 point lead over the Democratic state senator, 47 percent to 38 percent, according to the automated telephone poll of 500 likely voters.
That's up from last month's Rasmussen survey, which showed McDonnell with a 3 point lead over Deeds. The survey reinforces a trend movement in the Republican's direction.
Polling done immediately after the June 9 Democratic primary -- which Deeds won handily -- showed the Bath County Democrat with a 6 point advantage over McDonnell.
Democratic enthusiasm has waned since then, and McDonnell has opened up a significant lead. Surveys by Public Policy Polling and SurveyUSA in the last two weeks found the Republican with 14 point and 15 point leads, respectively.
When "leaners" -- voters who say they're undecided but pick a candidate when pressed a second time -- are included, McDonnell's margin shrinks by 1 point.
Both candidates retain remarkably high favorability ratings for a hotly contested gubernatorial race. Some 48 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Deeds, while 53 percent say they have a favorable opinion of McDonnell.
McDonnell also has gained ground on specific issues, including transportation. Some 33 percent of voters said they trust McDonnell more to deal with transportation, compared to 31 percent for Deeds -- a 3-point swing toward the Republican.
A key element of McDonnell's transportation plan, the privatization of Virginia's Alcoholic Beverage Control stores, has the support of 42 percent of voters, while 28 percent oppose the idea.
Deeds isn't the only Democrat in Virginia having lost ground.
President Obama's net job approvals are negative for the first time since the November election in a Rasmussen survey.
Some 48 percent of Virginia voters approve of Obama's job performance, while 51 percent disapprove, a 6-point swing since July, when Obama posted a net positive of 3 points.
Current Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine also has seen his numbers fade since June, but his fall apparently stopped in August.
Kaine's net approval rating has fallen from a net positive of 27 points to a net positive of 13 points.
Election Day is Nov. 3.