Obama to campaign with McAuliffe in Virginia just before election day

posted at 12:41 pm on October 29, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Last week’s Rasmussen poll with McAuliffe running the Virginia gubernatorial race by seventeen points was rather an eyebrow-raising outlier, but a new poll does corroborate that McAuliffe may be entering double-digit territory in the homestretch, via the Washington Post:

Democrat Terry McAuliffe has opened a double-digit lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli II in the race for Virginia governor, in a new poll capturing increasing dissatisfaction among voters with Cuccinelli’s party and his conservative views.

According to a new Washington Post/Abt SRBI poll, McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli 51 percent to 39 percent among likely voters in the Nov. 5 election. McAuliffe led by eight percentage points in a poll taken last month. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who has capitalized on voter unrest with the two major-party candidates, is at 8 percent, according to the new poll.

The margin between the two major-party candidates is driven by a huge gender gap. Among men, the two candidates are running even, with Cuccinelli at 45 percent and McAuliffe at 44 percent. But among women, Cuccinelli trails by 24 points — 58 percent to 34 percent.

Ugh, the gender gap. Team McAuliffe has definitely made the most of the opportunity by using his ample fundraising advantage to flood the airwaves with ads all about poisoning Cuccinelli’s image with women voters (by, for instance, harping on made-up claims about how Cuccinelli really, totally has banning contraception as a priority on his legislative agenda, or something). More details from Reuters:

According to new numbers posted Monday by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, McAuliffe raised $8.1 million to Cuccinelli’s $2.9 million, between October 1-23.

Overall totals show that McAuliffe has raised $34 million to just under $20 million for Cuccinelli.

Growing unrest with Cuccinelli, whose strongly conservative views apparently have alienated a large portion of the electorate, is reflected in poll results.

For example, among those supporting McAuliffe, 64 percent said they were voting against Cuccinelli rather than voting for McAuliffe.

About 44 percent of Cuccinelli’s supporters said they were voting against McAuliffe, rather than for the attorney general.

It’s been a long and deeply negative, deeply unfavorable race for both candidates, but it looks like McAuliffe’s cash resources have helped him to finally heap the most doubt upon Cuccinelli, no thanks to the government shutdown — and, to clinch it:

President Barack Obama will campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe this weekend, giving a late boost to McAuliffe as he seeks to energize core Democratic voters in an off-year governor’s race, Democratic sources told POLITICO.

Obama is set to appear at a Sunday afternoon get-out-the-vote rally in Northern Virginia. It will be the president’s first campaign appearance for McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

McAuliffe’s campaign has been working to activate many of the same voters who carried Virginia for Obama in 2008 and 2012: young people, independent women and African American, Latino and Asian American voters. Some of those groups – particularly young and nonwhite voters — tend to participate at lower rates in non-presidential elections.

The only foreseeable thing that could feasibly get in McAuliffe’s way at this point is low turnout and a distinctly Republican lean from the voters who do show up, and I suppose the idea is that the president can help get Democrats jazzed up to vote barely two days before the election. (The funny thing is, I’d guess that the apparent favor here is very much mutual; McAuliffe has been doing fine and dandy, campaigning with the ever-popular Clintons at his side throughout the commonwealth, whereas the trajectory of Obama’s popularity is struggling hard. Swooping in to associate himself with the triumph of a winning campaign could really help give him a boost, ya’ know?)

Update: Oh man, now it’s a party:

Joe Biden will campaign for Terry McAuliffe on the eve of the Virginia governor’s election, a day after President Barack Obama makes an appearance on behalf of the frontrunning Democrat.

The vice president will headline a get-out-the-vote rally in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Annandale on Monday at 9 a.m.


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