Poll: Shutdown affecting race for Virginia governor
October 15th, 2013
10:03 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Shutdown affecting race for Virginia governor

(CNN) - With three weeks to go until Election Day in Virginia, a new poll indicates Democrat Terry McAuliffe holding a single digit advantage over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the battle for governor.

And the survey, by the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, also suggests that the partial government shutdown is hurting Cuccinelli more than McAuliffe. Virginia is home to a large number of federal government and defense industry workers, many of whom have been impacted by the two-week long shutdown.

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According to the poll, which was conducted Tuesday through Sunday, 46% of likely voters in the commonwealth back McAuliffe, a businessman and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who's making his second bid for governor. Thirty-nine percent of those questioned say they support Cuccinelli, with Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis polling at 11%.

The Christopher Newport University poll is similar to two other surveys released last week in the Virginia gubernatorial battle. McAuliffe led Cuccinelli by eight points in a Quinnipiac University poll and held a five point margin in a Roanoke College survey.

Most voters questioned in the poll say neither candidate bears any responsibility for the partial government shutdown, but of the 13% who pointed fingers, 47% blame Cuccinelli and only 7% blame McAuliffe. And McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli by 15 points among likely voters affected by, or know someone affected by, the shutdown.

"The shutdown is definitely motivating some voters against Cuccinelli, who already had a Tea Party problem with Independents and business-minded Republicans," said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.

Cuccinelli, whose chances at winning greatly depend on turning out his conservative base, has been reluctant to criticize the tea party-backed GOP lawmakers in Congress who tied a push to defund the new national health care law to any measure to continue funding the federal goverment. But Cuccinelli kept some distance between himself and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who's been a vocal leader in the drive to dismantle Obamacare, when the two men appeared at a political function in Richmond, Virginia recently.

The McAuliffe campaign has tried to tie Cuccinelli to Cruz and the other conservative lawmakers who Democrats blame for causing the shutdown.

Virginia, a critical purple battleground in campaign politics, and New Jersey are the only two states to hold gubernatorial contests in the year following a presidential election, giving them outsized attention and importance.

The winner of the election will succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The Christopher Newport University poll was conducted October 8-13, with 753 likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for likely voters is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: 2013 • Ken Cuccinelli • Polls • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    "Shutdown affecting race for Virginia governor"

    Or, Shutdown increases McAuliffe's Commanding Lead. You say tomayto, I say tomahto. But then, Democrats never have a commanding lead, right, CNN?

    October 15, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The shutdown is definitely motivating some voters against Cuccinelli, who already had a Tea Party problem with Independents and business-minded Republicans," said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center."

    Who exactly DOES Cuccinelli have as his base of voters, CNN?

    October 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Lynda asked:

    Who exactly DOES Cuccinelli have as his base of voters, CNN?
    The gun huggers. The bible toters. And, the deniers.

    October 15, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The Cooch is running negative ads which is turning us Virginians off. On the other hand, you've got Sen. Warner and business leaders of all parties backing Terry.

    October 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The Cooch even has an ad out blatantly LYING that he isn't against women's contraception. Does he think the women of Virginia have amnesia? He even wants to cover the breast of the woman on the state emblem(Sic Temper Tyrannis). He's just way too radical for us. And his party affiliation and the company he keeps(Rafael Cruz, TeaTards, Jonnie Williams) doesn't help him one bit.

    October 15, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. rs

    If McAuliffe wins, that will be the bellweather for the future of the GOP, and in particular, the anti-American TEA Party. One must wonder if the GOP regrets letting Tom Delay and Karl Rove create their "grass roots" cancer?

    October 15, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    the party of intrusive ultrasounds and voter supression will be dealt yet another blow.....

    October 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Andi

    The GOP is drowning in its own venom!

    October 15, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. wendel

    the republican party won't be happy until they have screwed up the whole country. So who should the voters blame???? I think it is pretty obvious.

    October 15, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. Wake up People!


    I'm sure they do regret it NOW. But they welcomed the Tea Party. Here was a group ensconced in hatred. In particular for people with brown skin. Once Barack Obama was elected, the GOP needed someone else to be the face of their racism. So they welcomed them. They sat back and watched them attack the POTUS and his family constantly. Demanding birth certificates, pointing in his face, calling him a liar, and the list goes on. Unfortunately for the GOP but fortunately for the dems, the Tea Party became rabid with their attacks and more people starting paying attention. Finally people are seeing the GOPT for what they are. A bunch of hateful, spiteful, envious bigots.

    You lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

    Carry on Tea Party.

    October 15, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. sonny chapman

    Attention Sane Repubs.: The Tea Party & cigarettes are bad for your health.

    October 15, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Marie MD

    Almost forgot, Rafael bin laden the Canadian terrorist who thinks he can be president of the US attended some town hall gathering and cuchimamma didn't want to be seen near him.
    Only reason is the election. After the election they can go back to having a beer or two and try to figure out the best way to stop the government and destroying the US.

    October 15, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |