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.