Washington (CNN) – The Republican and Democratic candidates vying to become Virginia's next governor both addressed the recent government shutdown on the campaign trail, but a new poll indicates the issue had little to no impact on the race.
The Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, less than two weeks before Election day, shows Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe with a 46%-39% advantage over Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli, with Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis hitting the double digits at 10%.
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Four percent of likely voters say they're undecided, and 7% say there's a "good chance" they could change their mind, according to Quinnipiac.
The results are mostly consistent with a Quinnipiac survey released October 10, when McAuliffe was ahead among likely voters 47%-39%. Sarvis had support from 8%.
And an NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll released last week also showed an eight percentage point margin between the top two candidates. McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, had 46%, while Cuccinelli, the commonwealth's attorney general, had 38%. Sarvis had 9%.
Nearly half of Virginia's likely voters–47%–say the shutdown hurt their state "a great deal," according to the new poll. McAuliffe and other Democrats have especially been hitting hard against Republican Cuccinelli for not giving a firm answer over whether he would have supported last week's vote to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.
"I don't know whether I would have voted for it," he said at an event Monday.
State and national Democrats pounced on that statement.
"Ken Cuccinelli's clear opposition to the bipartisan agreement that reopened the federal government confirms what voters have learned: he will always stand up for his extreme, Tea Party ideology over the needs of the people of Virginia," Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Colm O'Comartun said in a statement.
Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling institute, said one of Cuccinelli's biggest obstacles is failing to win the support of an overwhelming majority of his party.
"Generally over the past decades, especially in southern states like Virginia, Republicans win when they have strong party allegiance among their base," Brown said. "One reason McAuliffe is ahead is that he wins 92% of Democrats while Cuccinelli has only 81% of Republicans. If Cuccinelli can't bring more Republicans home, he is likely to be toast."
Also of note, third party candidate Sarvis has been gaining slightly more traction, which could make a difference in a race this close.
"The double-digit presence of Libertarian Robert Sarvis on the ballot creates a major uncertainty," Brown said. "The big question about Sarvis is whether his voters will stick with him to the end, or wind up voting for McAuliffe or Cuccinelli."
A majority of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the 2013 gubernatorial race, according to Quinnipiac. Thirty-four percent have a "strongly unfavorable" opinion.
McAuliffie and Cuccinelli both have a negative favorability rating, meaning more people dislike the candidates than like them. As for Sarvis, more than three-quarters don't know enough about him to have an opinion.
Those sentiments fall in line with an editorial by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which withheld its endorsement on Sunday, saying none of the candidates deserved its support.
For the survey, Quinnipiac questioned 1,085 likely voters from October 15-21, with a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
The winner of the election will succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.
– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.