Thanks to Blue Virginia for linking the questions of the Washington Post poll.
Check out questions 15 (which direction to go) and 23 (party ID).
Likely voters seek a new direction vs. same direction 63 percent to 36 percent. In the previous four gubernatorial cycles, twice the new direction vs. same direction were the same - 2005 and 1997.
In 2001 and 1993, new direction had big leads and the governor's mansion eventually switched hands.
The party ID numbers shifted toward the Democrats in this poll from August, when McDonnell had a much bigger lead. Democrats are +3 in likely voters in September vs. -7 in August. That's a big pile of your surge right there.
Check the questions and see what else you can see.