Poll: Dead heat in Virginia gubernatorial face-off
Likely Democratic nominee and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe (left) and likely Republican nominee and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
January 9th, 2013
09:35 AM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Dead heat in Virginia gubernatorial face-off

Washington (CNN) – With 10 months to go before Virginia's gubernatorial election, a new survey indicates the race is all tied up.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning, 40% of Virginia voters say that if the November election were held today, they'd vote for the likely Democratic nominee, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, with 39% saying they'd support Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the likely Republican nominee.

McAuliffe, a former top adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, is the only Democrat in the gubernatorial race. He's making his second bid for Virginia governor. McAuliffe came in second to state Sen. Creigh Deeds in a three-candidate battle for the 2009 Democratic nomination. Deeds ended up losing by a landslide in the general election to then-Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell.

Cuccinelli, a conservative tea party favorite, is the only Republican in the contest. Last month, two-term Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling gave up his bid for the GOP nomination, but declined to endorse Cuccinelli and is flirting with a possible independent bid.

The poll indicates that if Bolling did run as an independent, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli would each get 34% support, with Bolling at 13%.

According to the survey, none of the three men are very well know to registered voters in the Commonwealth. Forty-one percent say they don't know enough about Cuccinelli to form an opinion. That percentage rises to 61% for McAuliffe and 72% for Bolling.

"While all three candidates for governor have run statewide previously, voter memories are short and they are little-known to Virginia voters," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "It goes without saying that with this relatively low level of voter recognition it will be some time before the shape of the race becomes clear. What is clear is that as an independent Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling faces a pretty stiff uphill climb should he decide to run as an independent."

The poll's release comes hours before Gov. McDonnell gives the annual State of the Commonwealth address. According to the poll, 54% of Virginia voters say they approve of the job the Republican governor is doing, with 27% saying they disapprove. He also has a 45%-23% favorable/unfavorable rating. McDonnell is not making a bid for re-election, because by state law, Virginia governors cannot run for consecutive terms.

The Virginia gubernatorial election will capture national attention, as Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states to hold such contests in the year after a presidential election.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted January 4-7, with 1,134 registered voters in Virginia questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.


Filed under: 2013 • Polls • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    Oh goody. More polls.

    January 9, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. ned

    I hope the women of Virginia remember vaginal probes and invasive anti-abortion laws supported by Cuccinelli. Women need to think about their rights that would surely continue to erode under a Cuccinelli administration.

    January 9, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Cuccinelli is going to be just another Tea Party losing candidate if he makes it to the final election. He has a controversial political history, which we know doesn't matter to the average Tea Party voter. Want to learn more? Do a web search on " Cuccinelli Health Care Reform "

    January 9, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. mcskadittle

    yes, the same type of poll that said Obama was leading last summer but you criticized as being biased

    January 9, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. mcskadittle

    please, run tea party candidates in general elections!

    January 9, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Malory Archer

    Everytime I hear the name ken cuccinelli, only two words come to mind: Vaginal probe. 'nough said.

    January 9, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. Tom

    Right. We remember how accurate all those "dead heat" polls were for the 2012 election. Karl Rove will be declaring Cuccinelli the landslide winner any day now.

    January 9, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Malory Archer observed:

    Everytime I hear the name ken cuccinelli, only two words come to mind: Vaginal probe. 'nough said.
    ---------–
    He was also caught with his hand in the cookie jar during Viginia's attempts to overturn Health Care and Financial Reform in the courts. He made sure the cases were heard by judges with blatant conflicts of interest. I'm talking about campaign donations and judicial appointments.

    January 9, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. Wake up People!

    Just to bring a little humor to the conversation, but isn't it ironic that his name is Cuchinelli and he seems to be obsessed with hoo hoos?? It's kind of like the electrician that used to do the electrical work at my former job named Sparks. Or one of the salesmen at my present job whose last name is Sell.

    January 9, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. judy

    vote all repos out that's the only way to move this country forward.

    January 9, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake up People!

    Just to bring a little humor to the conversation, but isn't it ironic that his name is Cuchinelli and he seems to be obsessed with hoo hoos??
    -------------------------------------------------
    Good one Wake up!!
    I tell you, sometimes it scares me to live so close to Virginia! These "polls" should no way be this close.
    Wake up Virginia!!!! lol.

    January 9, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Larry in Houston

    LOL – if the voters google this guys name – and his health care thing – lol – they will figure it out.

    January 9, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Larry in Houston wrote:

    LOL – if the voters google this guys name – and his health care thing – lol – they will figure it out.
    -------------
    The arrogance that he would actually run for office is truly amazing. His record in elected office reads like a rap sheet of political corruption.

    January 9, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Tom

    I sure do hope that Democratic Terry McAuliffe wins. You see, I live off welfare. Heck, I get over $70,000 per year if you add up my Medicaid, WIC, AFDC cash payments, food stamps, Section 8 housing, and free cell phone. I'd really like you taxpayers to buy me two cell phones (one for my car and one for my boat). Terry McAuliffe understands folks like me who don't want to work. He believes even more money should be taken (taxed) away from you workers and given to us non-workers. Terry will surely get my vote !

    January 9, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |