Democrat McAuliffe up in Va. governor's race
May 16th, 2013
08:51 AM ET
1 year ago

Democrat McAuliffe up in Va. governor's race

(CNN) – Six months before Virginia voters choose a new governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a slight advantage over his Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli, a poll released Thursday showed.

McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and major party fundraiser, had the support of 43% of registered voters in the Quinnipiac University survey, while Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli was at 38%. That margin was just inside the poll's sampling error.

Independents are split – 38% support Cuccinelli and 37% back McAuliffe.

And while both candidates have begun airing television spots detailing their résumés, both remain largely unknown to voters. Sixty percent said they didn't know enough about McAuliffe to form an opinion, while 42% said they weren't familiar enough with Cuccinelli – the commonwealth's attorney general – to determine a favorable or unfavorable view.

"At this point, neither candidate sets the electorate's heart atwitter," said Peter Brown, the assistant director of Quinnipiac's polling institute. "But we are starting to see the beginning of the television advertising campaign by the two candidates, and presumably those ads will begin to introduce the candidates to the voters."

The tight race indicated in Thursday's poll closely mimics other recent surveys of Virginia voters. An NBC/Marist poll released earlier this month showed McAuliffe with a slight 43%-41% advantage over Cuccinelli among registered voters, though Cuccinelli was ahead 45%-42% among likely voters. Both those margins were within the sampling error.

Another poll – this one from the Washington Post – had Cuccinelli ahead by five percentage points among all Virginia voters. The Republican candidate's lead widened to ten points when polling those who said they're certain to vote in November.

The poll from Quinnipiac surveyed only registered voters. In it, 22% said McAuliffe was too liberal to become governor, while 28% said Cuccinelli was too conservative.

The survey was conducted by telephone from May 8-11, and 1,286 registered voters were polled. The sampling error was plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Virginia and New Jersey are the only states to conduct governor's elections in the November following a presidential election year.


Filed under: Ken Cuccinelli • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Tadow! After 4 years of Gov. "Corrupt, Confederate Month, Ultrasound" McDonnell, the last person we need to replace him with is his Mini-Me. McAullife all the way. Let's make Virginia completely blue.

    May 16, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  2. The Right Left

    Virginia is about two election cycles away from slipping out of GOP's hands. The rural population is old and dying off. The younger urban populations wants none of their regressive social policies. Texas and Georgia are not far away. The party of Confederate ruminants will be confined to Alabama, Miss, Oklahoma, Kansas and few northwestern states, like Montana and North Dakota.

    May 16, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  3. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    How can any intelligence person vote for any of these do nothing gop garbage of America canadates . The dems should have landslide victories across America ,except for some brain dead gop hillbilly states ????

    May 16, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. ST

    We need to sweep out all these republicans, whether they are governors, congressmen/women, senators or whoever holding the name (R) in their chests. They are wasting time of everyone. No one is happy to see their time is wasted for doing nothing. A minute gone, is a minute never come back!

    May 16, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. nothing new here

    Virginia use to be a solid red state, but not anymore.
    Even though I don't live in the state, I have relatives and friends that do. I have heard from many reliable people that more folks are becoming Independent voters, provided they even bother to vote at all. Maybe that is what it should be – people should vote for a candidate that will serve the people, and not just the party.

    May 16, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    If we could go deeper, I would be willing to bet that many of the people who claim to be independents, but who vote Republican regularly, are being less than honest with pollsters. This is not to exclude the people who are true Independents and vote based on the person and the issues, not the party. Unfortunately in today's fractured spectrum, the issues and the Party have become inseparable.

    May 16, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |