RICHMOND, SEPT. 19 -- Democratic gubernatorial nominee L. Douglas Wilder began airing commercials tonight that attack Republican rival J. Marshall Coleman for his opposition to abortion, a stance that many Coleman supporters fear could cost him the narrow lead he now enjoys in published polls. "On the issue of abortion, Marshall Coleman wants to take away your right to choose and give it to the politicians," says the announcer in the 30-second television spot, which was aired statewide, including the costly Washington area market. "He wants to go back to outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape and incest," the ad continues. "Doug Wilder believes the government shouldn't interfere in your right to choose. He wants to keep the politicians out of your personal life. "Don't let Marshall Coleman take us back," the ad concludes. "To keep Virginia moving forward, Doug Wilder is the clear choice." The commercial is the latest attack in the escalating ad wars leading up to the Nov. 7 election and represents a high-stakes gamble for the Democratic lieutenant governor as he tries to regain the initiative in that multimillion-dollar media battle. J. Bruce Hildebrand, Coleman's press secretary, denounced the abortion ad as Wilder's "cynical attempt to shore up his sagging campaign by raising groundless fears." Although firmly opposed to abortion, Coleman, if elected, will not seek restrictions "in cases involving rape, incest or when the life of the mother is threatened," Hildebrand added. Wilder aides would not say how long the new commercial will be on the air, but it is likely to be for some time, because this issue is a key ingredient to Wilder's electoral strategy. After weeks of sometimes unflattering publicity during August and a recent onslaught by Coleman with a series of law-and-order commercials, Wilder said today he wanted to recapture the momentum in the public relations battle. At the same time, he moved tonight to increase his financial support, meeting privately at a hotel here with about two dozen lobbyists, some of whom were longtime supporters and others who represent possible new sources of money in the campaign's final seven weeks. Wilder's pollster and media consultant also attended the session. Wilder's latest commercial also coincides with the release, scheduled for Wednesday morning, of a new statewide poll showing him trailing Coleman by 6 percentage points, 44 to 38. The poll of 824 likely voters by Mason-Dixon Opinion Research Inc. showed 17 percent of them to be undecided in the governor's race, a bloc the pollster said was "very significant." In the other two statwide contests, Republican Edwina P. "Eddy" Dalton remained comfortably ahead of Democrat Donald S. Beyer Jr., 44 percent to 25 percent, with 31 percent undecided. In the attorney general's race, Democratic incumbent Mary Sue Terry enjoyed a commanding 2-to-1 lead over Republican Joseph B. Benedetti, 55 percent to 26 percent with 19 percent undecided. The poll, which was conducted from Sept. 14 to 17, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. In other developments today in the governor's race, the Coleman and Wilder camps announced agreement on two debates that will be televised statewide next month. An hour-long debate on Oct. 9, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, will be broadcast on WJLA-TV (Channel 7); C-Span will broadcast the debate nationwide, starting at 8 p.m. Details for the broadcast of a second televised debate on Oct. 19, sponsored by the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association, are still being worked out. The format for both debates will allow Wilder and Coleman to question each other.