| Creigh Deeds launches a "Women for Deeds" tour today where he is expected to hammer Republican Bob McDonnell on abortion. Initially, this shocked observers, who were expecting Deeds to follow his predecessors Warner and Kaine in skirting around social issues. The Washington Post went so far as to put up the headline "Deeds to Wage Risky Attack On Opponent's Abortion Views". However, Virginia is not as pro-life as it seems--and that's not the important issue.
Calling this strategy risky is nonsense because McDonnell has already locked up the pro-life vote--but his lead is substantially augmented by a significant sector of the pro-choice vote which still believes he is a moderate. Let's look into the last SurveyUSA poll, which broke out respondents by choice stance, to illustrate.
SurveyUSA indicates that 50% of the likely electorate this November is pro-life, and 48% pro-choice--a practically even split. More importantly, there are twice as many pro-choice McDonnell voters than pro-life Deeds voters.
Creigh Deeds has nearly nothing to lose by angering pro-lifers and everything to gain. Deeds--smartly--is trying to close the gap with pro-choice voters who are unconvinced that McDonnell is an extremist. McDonnell already has most of the pro-life vote locked up--Deeds needs to do the same with the pro-choice vote.
Continue to call this strategy risky, and Joe Abbey and Creigh Deeds will laugh at you. It will look like this: