Annotations & Elucidations  The Debate/Mason-Dixon Edition

The news is almost all campaign, with several national articles (including the New York Times, which has two pieces — one specifically on Virginia, in the News section, and one on Virginia and New Jersey and their national implications, in National News) continuing to shine the national flood lights on the commonwealth. Tonight is also debate night, the first live televised one. Will Democrat Creigh Deeds apologize for his negative campaign? Will he finally explain his transportation and tax increase plans (his last attempt at explaining the latter was called "embarrassing" today by his patron, the Washington Post, and now has been turned into a new ad, which will begin running tonight).

Now the Dems, including DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, are targeting Senator Ken Cuccinelli. He began an ad they say is unfair and misrepresents Democrat attorney general candidate Steve Shannon's position on the special session that remedied a Supreme Court decision that would ceased prosecutions on drunk drivers and drug offenders. Hmmm. How do you misrepresent Shannon's view? Calling it a "political stunt" is pretty hard to misinterpret.

But the big news was the release of Mason-Dixon's first poll this campaign season. Mason-Dixon is the gold standard in Virginia political polls. The last poll it conducts, the Sunday before each election day, has never predicted the wrong winner, so it is awaited with baited breath. Its 2009 debut has all three Republicans leading: Bob McDonnell up by eight for governor, Lt. Governor Bill Bollingup by 13, and Cuccinelli up by seven. Not to be outdone, however, is SurveyUSA, which conducted another poll last week for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke and WJLA-TV in Washington (its fourth consecutive weekly poll). It was mostly drowned out by the Washington Post poll results, which showed all three Republicans up by nine. SurveyUSA has the three Republicans up by 11, 17 and 10, respectively. Details on everything mentioned above, and more, are below.

News:

Mason-Dixon Poll: McDonnell up by 8 points over Deeds (Richmond Times-Dispatch/Lynchburg News & Advance

Mason-Dixon Shows McDonnell by 8 (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Poll: GOP's Bolling, Cuccinelli lead (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia: 4 Weeks Until Votes Are Counted, Republicans Remain Poised to Win 3 Top Statewide Contests (SurveyUSA.com)

Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll (SurveyUSA.com)

Va. Candidates Meet Tonight in First Live TV Debate (Washington Post)

Debate a major moment in Va. governor's race (AP/The Daily Press)

Two State Races May Put Lens on Obama (New York Times)

GOP Launches New Ad on Deeds and Taxes (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Cuccinelli Airs New Ad; Shannon, Kaine Protest (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog

Kaine says Obama supporters key for Deeds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Biden calls Virginia race winnable for Deeds.... (The Shad Plank Blog)

Debate in House race heats up over transportation question (Lynchburg News & Advance)

8th District candidates debate in Roanoke Co. (Roanoke Times)

Sexually explicit novel pulled from Roanoke school libraries (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News:

Democrats May Lose Two Governors Races (Reuters/New York Times)

McDonnell Holds GOP Comeback Hopes in Virginia; Dems Hope Deeds Bet Pays Off  (PoliticsDaily.com)

House Votes to Add Sexual Orientation to Law on Hate Crimes (Washington Post)

Analysis:

Republican sweep looking likely in Virginia (Josh Kraushaar/The Scorecard Blog Politico.com)