by Paul Goldman
In today’s Washington Post poll, Governor Bob McDonnell leaps to become the state’s best-liked politician, based on approval rating (62%-26%), topping Senator Warner (61%-24%) and Senator Webb (55%-27%). This is the first time in nearly a generation that a Republican Governor has taken the top spot.
As I have written previously, McDonnell’s popularity increase his chances of being on the GOP national ticket next year. It also directly impacts the Kaine vs Allen race (note: as I argued yesterday, the failure of Allen to identify more closely with McDonnell tells me his team isn’t ready for prime time). Finally, it could lead McDonnell to challenge Mark Warner in 2014, since it’s highly likely that President Obama will be reelected and that Bob McDonnell won’t be vice president in 2014.
All of which raises the question: Could the era of Bob McDonnell in Virginia politics, which began with his heading up the biggest GOP sweep of statewide offices in history (in 2009), now be in full swing?
One possible consequence if this is true: McDonnell’s popular appeal would swing the Democratic Senate to the GOP this November. For starters, Virginia Democrats need to accept that the kind of attacks launched by the Deeds “brain trust” against McDonnell in 2009 – and still seen on too many Democratic blogs – is backfiring and for good reason.
Has the Bob McDonnell era started here in Virginia politics? It is beginning to look that way.