Public Policy Polling is the latest to take the temperature of 2013’s only competitive gubernatorial race, and by their measure, Democrat Terry McAuliffe currently has a four-point lead over Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, via Politico:

The survey by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling has McAuliffe at 41 percent, compared with 37 percent for Cuccinelli and 7 percent for libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. Fifteen percent said they’re undecided.

McAuliffe also leads among self-described independents, 40 percent to 33 percent. Twenty percent of independents are undecided.

The poll, shared early with POLITICO, also finds both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli with underwater favorability ratings: 32 percent of voters view Cuccinelli favorably, while 47 percent have a negative opinion of him. McAuliffe’s ratings are 34 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable.

The candidates have been running close in polls for months. Both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli have stepped up their attacks in recent weeks, which is likely to make their favorability ratings drop even further.

The polls concerning Cuccinelli and McAuliffe have indeed been going back-and-forth with often slim margins for months now, but this is the first poll anyone’s taken since a libertarian managed to make his way onto the ballot at the end of June:

The Libertarian Party of Virginia announced Thursday that its gubernatorial candidate, Robert Sarvis, obtained the 10,000 signatures of registered Virginia voters needed to earn a spot on November’s ballot. Virginia’s requirements for third-party ballot access required Sarvis to collect at least 400 of those signatures from each of the Commonwealth’s 11 congressional districts.

Sarvis, a lawyer, software engineer and math teacher from Annandale who might be characterized as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, is running a campaign around the issues of tax reform, school choice, gun rights, marijuana legalization, drug decriminalization and reform, and recognizing gay marriages.

“Virginia needs open-minded, economically literate leadership, not culture wars and class wars,” Sarvis said in a statement announcing he had earned a spot on the ballot. “By protecting personal and economic freedom, we can make Virginia the envy of the world, with a growing economy that adds jobs and raises incomes, and a system of laws providing equality and justice for all. So let’s buck the two-party system, bring people together and build a Virginia that’s open-minded and open for business.”

Ahem. And… well, to put it somewhat gently — things are not going too well for current Gov. Bob McDonnell during his final year in office, via HuffPo:

Scandal-plagued Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) approval rating has dropped 12 percentage points in the past two months, according to a survey released Monday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

A widening FBI probe into gifts from a corporate donors has driven McDonnell’s job rating underwater for the first time in his tenure, according to PPP, with 36 percent of voters approving and 41 percent disapproving. In May, McDonnell had a 44 percent approval rating. …

Since then, news about the FBI investigation has grown. Last week, The Washington Post reported that McDonnell and his wife received $120,000 in undisclosed gifts from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the CEO of a dietary supplement company called Star Scientific whose products McDonnell promoted.

…Merp. The tarnishing of what might have been Gov. McDonnell’s otherwise fairly sterling legacy began with widespread conservative wrath over his mega-sized transportation bill last spring, but now Democrats are going to use his possible indictment to try and cast a pall over the entire Virginia GOP — and you can bet that they’ll be making every effort to paint Cuccinelli with the same brush by linking him to the scandal.

Anyhow. The cash-monies situation seems to be trending toward McAuliffe at the moment, too; the guy is a former Democratic National Committee chairman, and his years building up his fundraising ability was definitely a huge factor in his candidacy in the traditionally more reddish-leaning but lately pretty purplish commonwealth:

Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s campaign outpaced Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli in June fundraising in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, according to figures released Monday.

McAuliffe’s campaign reported that it raised more than $1.9 million in June, compared to $1.1 million raised during the same period by Attorney General Cuccinelli.

McAuliffe also is leading Cuccinelli when it comes to the total amount of cash each campaign has available to spend, which becomes more important as Election Day nears. McAuliffe reported having more than $6 million in cash on hand. Cuccinelli reported having nearly $2.7 million in cash on hand.

The Virginia Public Access Project reported that Cuccinelli spent nearly $100,000 more in June than he raised, while McAuliffe raised more than $580,000 than he spent.