NBC/Marist poll: Dead heat in Virginia, but Cuccinelli still winning the “intensity advantage”

posted at 12:41 pm on May 8, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

A new NBC/Marist poll on Virginia’s gubernatorial race — a.k.a., the only competitive governor’s race in the country in 2013 — released this morning has some slightly different findings than the WaPo poll from last weekend, which had Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli edging Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a five-point lead among Virginia voters; the NBC poll has McAuliffe beating Cuccinelli by a within-the-margin-of-error 43 to 41 percent among registered voters. Cuccinelli, however, has some very distinct advantages going for him — Virginia voters are more familiar with the state attorney general than they are the former DNC chairman, as well as a 45-42 lead with likely voters.

Part of that slight tilt to Cuccinelli is because the “intensity advantage” is with the GOP attorney general: 53% of Cuccinelli’s backers strongly support him, compared with 47% for McAuliffe. Fifty-one percent approve of Cuccinelli’s performance as attorney general, with 24% disapproving and a quarter unsure.

But there’s certainly time, and room, for the former DNC chairman to grow. Of those polled, 44% say they’ve never heard of the longtime Democratic fundraiser and businessman, compared to just 32% who said the same about Cuccinelli. …

For all Democrats’ efforts to paint the sitting attorney general as too conservative or outside the mainstream, those ideas haven’t taken root in voters’ minds. Just 27% say the Republican is too conservative, with a 39% plurality of voters saying he’s just right on issues. For McAuliffe, 28% see him as too liberal, while 33% see him as just right.

Again, though, the biggest takeaway is that this is clearly nothing like the blowout shaping up in Chris Christie’s favor in New Jersey — this is going to be a rough battle for the indie vote and both parties are going to be throwing everything they have at this race, ’cause purplish Virginia is a big win that will set some of the tone for 2014 campaigns all over the place.

Both men also have solidified their base, with 91% of registered voters backing their own party’s nominee. The two are deadlocked with independent voters at 36% each, with over a quarter of independents still up for grabs.

Both campaigns have really started rolling in earnest; the sparring over the women’s vote is already well under way, and both candidates are going for tax-cuting plans to define their economic platforms:

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II said Tuesday that if elected governor, he would cut business and individual income taxes by $1.4 billion a year and build on Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s “Bob’s for jobs!” slogan. …

Cuccinelli’s plan calls for cutting the corporate income tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent over four years and reducing the individual income tax rate from 5.75 percent to 5 percent over that period. …

As a few details of Cuccinelli’s plan began to leak out last week, his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, released a proposal of his own. It calls for eliminating or reducing the business, professional and occupational license tax, the machinery and tool tax, and the merchants’ capital tax.


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Terry McAuliffe, released a proposal of his own. It calls for eliminating or reducing the business, professional and occupational license tax, the machinery and tool tax, and the merchants’ capital tax.

If y’all heard my howling laughter, y’all would be afraid.

cozmo on May 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Organizer bus votes count just as much as intense votes. Good thing gubernatorial elections on VA don’t coincide with presidential elections.

forest on May 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM

As long as the polls are not filled with illegal votes and voters, no democrat should ever be elected again outside of New England and the Pacific coast. The rest of the country is still sane.

Wino on May 8, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Come on, Virginia, man up! Terry will spend all his time raising money for the Democrats.

Cindy Munford on May 8, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Every time you have “NBC/Marist Poll” in a headline, I always misread it as “NBC/Marxist Poll”. I think my version is more accurate.

Agent of the Cross on May 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Kenneth Cuccinelli could be a great.

Capitalist Hog on May 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM

LEVIN loves him some Cooch.

But would he be another Jeff Flake?

PappyD61 on May 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Every time you have “NBC/Marist Poll” in a headline, I always misread it as “NBC/Marxist Poll”. I think my version is more accurate.

Agent of the Cross on May 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM

He he.. I always read it the same way.. Must be the correlation my brain makes between NBC and Marxists.

melle1228 on May 8, 2013 at 1:02 PM

PappyD61 on May 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

I don’t understand the question, Jeff Flake is in Congress. One thing for sure, he won’t be Terry McAuliffe.

Cindy Munford on May 8, 2013 at 1:06 PM

As a few details of Cuccinelli’s plan began to leak out last week, his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, released a proposal of his own. It calls for eliminating or reducing the business, professional and occupational license tax, the machinery and tool tax, and the merchants’ capital tax.

Yes, McAuliffe can (and does) spew BS like an erupting volcano but he’s just another ‘tax and spend’ Marxist.

Every time you have “NBC/Marist Poll” in a headline, I always misread it as “NBC/Marxist Poll”. I think my version is more accurate.

Agent of the Cross on May 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Thanks for posting. I thought perhaps I was the only one that red it that way.

PS As a Virginia resident, I don’t recall my household being contacted to contribute to an NBC/’Marxist’ poll. Guess I’ll have to express myself at my polling place.

oldleprechaun on May 8, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Nothing a truckload of missing ballots won’t fix. Add in a legion of illegal aliens, felons, dead and multiple voters… along with a couple of 100% Mccauliffe distiricts and it’s a landslide.

acyl72 on May 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Terry McAuliffe, released a proposal of his own.

…have his people vote more often!

KOOLAID2 on May 8, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Just like the dead heat in last night’s drubbing in SC.

Punchenko on May 8, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Wasn’t Romney winning the intensity gap? I will say this Ken Cuccinelli is a hottie, perhaps he should consider some shirtless campaign stops.

libfreeordie on May 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM

I hope that the Republicans learned a lesson from the election of Al Franken and that they like the Democrats have tens of thousands of ballots waiting to be “found” in closets, car trunks and anywhere else they can think of.

RJL on May 8, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Cooch has a face for the ladies (and a few others), and it is not hurting him. Maybe VA can let him go national in 2016.

leftnomore on May 8, 2013 at 10:27 PM