The survey was conducted shortly after news stories broke about a thesis paper written by McDonnell in 1989. The thesis reflected very conservative views on the role of women in society and other topics. To this point, just 49% of Likely Voters say they’ve followed news stories on this topic even somewhat closely. Twenty-four percent (24%) say they’ve followed the stories Very Closely.It's important to note that the revelation that McDonnell argued women are "detrimental" to society is just the beginning of the story. As people who've followed McDonnell's career already know, he's been promoting policy from the 15 point agenda that his thesis promoted throughout his career as an elected official. Since he's spent the last year or so trying to counter-act that image, however, it might take some time to remind voters of his real record. The poll numbers that come out in a month or so will therefore be a much more accurate reflection of where voters stand. This is especially true when you consider that most voters don't start paying attention to the race until after Labor Day anyways.
Thirty-six percent (36%) say the writings are at least somewhat important in terms of how they will vote. Forty-nine percent (49%) say they’re not important. Nearly half of all Democrats consider the thesis important while two-thirds of Republicans say they are not. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 32% say the writings are important including 18% who say they are Very Important.
Along those lines, it's also worth noting that this poll includes people who are just leaning towards a specific candidate which means there could very likely be movement as more details become available about McDonnell's right-wing blueprint for governance. What we need to watch closely is to see how these "leaners" move in the next month in order to get a better picture of where the race is headed. If you look back at the Democratic primary, many of these leaners ended up voting for Deeds after his campaign showed some momentum and they began to learn a little more about his campaign. This is despite the fact that he was considered the underdog for almost the entire race. As we're in the final months of the general election, I wouldn't be too surprised if a similar movement happened again.