Polls: Single digit race in crucial gubernatorial battle
September 24th, 2013
09:01 AM ET
11 months ago

Polls: Single digit race in crucial gubernatorial battle

Washington (CNN) - With six weeks to go until Election Day and one day until a crucial debate showdown, two new polls indicate Democrat Terry McAuliffe on top of Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the much watched battle for Virginia governor.

And according to both surveys, released Monday night from NBC4/NBC News/Marist and Washington Post/Abt SRBI, McAuliffe's advantage seems to be fueled by his lead among female voters.

McAuliffe, a businessman, former Democratic National Committee chairman and close adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, holds a 43%-38% advantage over Cuccinelli, Virginia's attorney general, among likely voters in the NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis at 8%.

In the Washington Post/Abt SRBI survey, McAuliffe is at 47%, with Cuccinelli at 39% and Sarvis at 10% among likely voters. McAuliffe's advantage in both polls is within the surveys' sampling errors.

McAuliffe holds an 18-point lead among women voters in the NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll and a 27-point margin in the Washington Post/Abt SRBI survey, with Cuccinelli leading by only 10 points and eight points among men in the two surveys.

The race turned negative this summer, with both campaigns and outside groups letting loose with a spate of negative ads. And that seems to have had an impact on both candidates (and especially Cuccinelli), whose favorable ratings in both surveys are nothing to brag about.

"Overall, as we look through these numbers, neither of these candidates has really passed the comfort level with Virginia voters," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion.

The McAuliffe campaign and Democrats have long characterized Cuccinelli's views on social issues, female reproductive issues, and science as too extreme for mainstream Virginia voters, and this year have reminded voters of Cuccinelli's connections and gifts from a political donor at the center of a scandal hovering over the state's current governor, Republican Bob McDonnell.

A state investigation earlier this summer indicated the attorney general would not face charges for the failure to report the gifts, adding that there was no evidence Cuccinelli committed a crime.

Earlier this month Cuccinelli announced he had given $18,000 to a Richmond-based charity, in an attempt to allay criticism over the gifts he received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams Sr., the man involved in the gifts controversy surrounding McDonnell.

Meanwhile, the Cuccinelli campaign, as well as state and national Republicans, have slammed McAuliffe over federal investigations of an electric car company that McAuliffe co-founded.

Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states to hold elections for governor in the year after a presidential contest, resulting in outsized attention. And with the Garden State's Republican governor, Chris Christie, holding a huge lead over his Democratic challenger in his re-election bid (and with Democrats expected to win the special Senate election in New Jersey scheduled for October) the Virginia race is considered the only competitive statewide contest this year.

The NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll was conducted by telephone from September 17-19, with a sampling error for likely voters of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. The Washington Post/Abt SRBI survey was conducted September 19-22, with 1,003 adults in Virginia, including 563 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The poll's sampling error for likely voters of plus or minus five percentage points.


Filed under: 2013 • Ken Cuccinelli • Polls • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    This poll is significant as the race goes into the home stretch. Cuccinelli is loing ground. Prepare yourselvs for the mud slinging.

    September 24, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. Marie MD

    cuchimamma has received perks like free private jet trips and island vacations which he thinks that by giving $18K to a charity cleans the slate. Just think of that amount. Some people don't even make that much a year.
    He has signed legislation that prohibits women from having an abortion in the case of rape or incest. He also thinks that if a woman is being abused by her husband she can't divorce him unless she has a really good excuse. I guess being physically and mentally amused is not enough for this guy.

    September 24, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    AG Coochinelli is farther to the right than Gov. McCorrupt and that's why he 's going to lose. This man is telling women in Virginia in what circumstances they can get a divorce. He's so nuts that he wants the breast of the woman on the Seal of Virginia covered. Cookoo Cookoo! I'm riding with McAuliffe all the way.

    September 24, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    Get rid off all GOP thugs of this great USA taliban party of "no". USA benefits, common-man benefits. Again do not cry on Food-Stamps, they know living off of these is very sin but desperate, if you have guts cry on TAX-EVSION, hiding money in Cayman Island, Swiss. God bless poor/needy USA.

    September 24, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. Data Driven

    "McAuliffe holds an 18-point lead among women voters"

    Imagine if Cuccinnelli was pro-existing-law, or at least indifferent, about reproductive issues. He wins this.

    Something to think about, conservatives.

    September 24, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    Wow the women are running away from Cuccinelli.

    (Is this comment ok?) Geez, some people can say anything others nothing.

    September 24, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    The Cooch has taken gifts, led the fight against Obamacare with tax payer money, and used his office to attack women's rights. He is as big of an out of touch fool as Cruz.

    September 24, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Bill

    Bottom line, Virginia does not want another transvaginal exam governor in office. When will the GOP learn that they can not win elections running clowns who obsess over social issues? You would have thought that the Todd Akin and Murdock fiascos taught that lesson last year. Goodbye, Kenny.

    September 24, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. rs

    It would be nice to have a Governor in Virginia who stood up for Women's Rights instead of treating them like cattle for breeding.

    September 24, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "McAuliffe holds an 18-point lead among women voters in the NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll and a 27-point margin in the Washington Post/Abt SRBI survey, with Cuccinelli leading by only 10 points and eight points among men in the two surveys."

    Let us hope this trend continues throughout 2014 state by state elections.

    September 24, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. jinx9to88

    This is an example of what gonna take place in 2014. GOP lives in a bubble with Fox news. Alot of these states that put strict voter ID laws and Abortion restriction will suffer. You need an ID to vote but you dont need an ID to by a gun in some case's. Last time I checked they are both a right.

    September 24, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Data Driven

    @jinx9to88,

    "GOP lives in a bubble with Fox news"

    This is a key point. It's why they were shocked when Obama won reelection. An inability to process and accept facts contrary to one's opinion leaves one intellectually vulnerable. Cuccinnelli seems to think that because everyone on Fox agrees with him, even when it comes to restricting women's reproductive rights, that means that all of Virginia agrees with him. He'll soon learn otherwise.

    Conservatives often tout Fox's 2 to 1 margin in cable news ratings. All that means is that Fox owns the market on those most susceptible to groupthink.

    September 24, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Data Driven

    @jinx9to88,

    "GOP lives in a bubble with Fox news"

    This is a key point. It's why they were shocked when Obama won reelection. An inability to process and accept facts contrary to one's opinion leaves one intellectually vulnerable.
    -----------------–
    You know something? Come to think of it, I don't recall having seen or heard from Karl Rove since Election Night 2012.

    I prefer thinking of the "bubble" as a hamster wheel, and FNC as the hamster cage and people who watch it as the hamsters.

    September 24, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. kirk

    Since the Republicans have decided to use polls as a way to sway public opinion, and can no longer be trusted, I won't put to much into it, but go Terry!

    September 24, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    -Data Driven

    @jinx9to88,

    "GOP lives in a bubble with Fox news"

    This is a key point. It's why they were shocked when Obama won reelection. An inability to process and accept facts contrary to one's opinion leaves one intellectually vulnerable. Cuccinnelli seems to think that because everyone on Fox agrees with him, even when it comes to restricting women's reproductive rights, that means that all of Virginia agrees with him. He'll soon learn otherwise.

    Conservatives often tout Fox's 2 to 1 margin in cable news ratings. All that means is that Fox owns the market on those most susceptible to groupthink.
    *****************
    There are also the independents and liberals who watch them for sheer entertainment value. Their ratings do not translate into well-informed voters, which we saw on display last November. Its amusing watching everyone nodding, from the host to the guests to the audience, all in agreement with everything being said no matter how outrageous. MSNBC is just as bad, frankly, which is why I stopped watching years ago. I don't need affirmation, I need information. What is amusing is when they call liberals " sheep", then refuse to accept the evidence in front of them.

    September 24, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. Data Driven

    @The Real Tom Paine,

    "I don't need affirmation, I need information"

    Pretty much the Quote of the Week right there. Certainly explains why the Left doesn't much watch or need Left-leaning infotainment. It's why I don't hang out at places like Kos all day (unless I need some info or guidance on local activism).

    September 24, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. jinx9to88

    I am not against Repubs but they have gotten away from the issues that made people want to vote for them including me. Dems and Repubs policies are different but what makes the country so great is "compromise". Neither party has ever got 100% of what they wanted as far back that I can remember. The new GOP trolls thinking is "my way or the highway". They dont want to compromise on anything. Until the moderate Repubs take the party back I can't see myself voting for them again. GOP made the deal with the wackos in 2010 to take back the house and the country has suffered since and I really do think some Repubs are starting to believe it now since they are getting primaries from the way right.

    September 24, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |