Democrat Terry McAuliffe has opened up a seven-point lead over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as the Virginia gubernatorial race enters the post-Labor Day stretch.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Virginia Voters finds McAuliffe with 45% support to Cuccinelli’s 38%. Seven percent (7%) prefer some other candidate, while 10% remain unsure.
That shores up and now matches up with the updated RCP average, but a solid 10 percent of voters in the Rasmussen poll are still undecided. The influx of independent swing voters, especially into the northern Virginia and Tidewater regions in recent years, is moving the commonwealth’s once once solidly red status toward deeper shades of purple, and the undecided contingent could still be very much up for grabs — but I fear that ads like this one are probably finding their mark:
An attack ad about limits and qualifications for divorce certainly will not play well with any of the young, self-styled moderate voters that I know around here, and meanwhile, McAuliffe’s lifetime of Democratic fundraising and hobnobbing is providing him with higher campaign-spending and ad-buying power than Cuccinelli. Professor Larry Sabato has some more insight over at the crystal ball:
Still, it’s a strange race between Cuccinelli and McAuliffe. Almost all modern competitive elections are negative and slashing, but this one is in meltdown mode because both candidates are vulnerable on so many scores. Cuccinelli is as conservative as GOP candidates come, with rigid, unyielding positions on social issues that are well to the right of moderate Virginia. Plus, Cuccinelli not only shares the party of the incumbent governor whose greedy “gift” scandal has made daily national headlines, but the Attorney General himself received thousands of dollars worth of gifts from the same donor. McAuliffe, on the other hand, has few strong ties to Virginia and no experience in elective office. Those who are familiar with the former DNC chairman view him as un-gubernatorial, a political fixer and a flim-flam artist — more of a creature of his patrons, Bill and Hillary Clinton, than of the Old Dominion.