We’re getting into that back-to-school time of year when people typically begin to actually tune in to upcoming elections in earnest, and the airwaves in Virginia are already plenty occupied with campaigns ads from the Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli camps. I think we probably still have a little ways to go on the attention-front, but the latest poll on the gubernatorial race from Quinnipiac showing McAuliffe taking the edge isn’t particularly encouraging:
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a 48 – 42 percent lead over Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the race to become Virginia’s next governor, according to today’s Quinnipiac University poll, the first survey in this race among voters likely to vote in the November election.
The six-point lead for McAuliffe is not comparable to previous surveys by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, taken among registered voters.
Honesty is the most important quality Virginia likely voters are considering when they choose a candidate as 58 percent of voters say a candidate’s “honesty and trustworthiness” are “extremely important” while 35 percent say “very important.” Voters are divided 39 – 36 percent on whether McAuliffe is honest and trustworthy, and are divided 42 – 43 percent on Cuccinelli’s honesty.
It’s the first Virginia poll that’s been conducted in awhile, and I do think it’s a little odd that the pollsters left the libertarian candidate out of it, but… still. It isn’t surprising that the firebrandish Cuccinelli is the more strongly polarizing of the two, with McAuliffe still something of an unknown and squishy quantity. The interesting part, however, is that the GOP typically has an off-year turnout advantage — but with Virginia’s growing number of resident Democrats in recent years, with both candidates taking at least 90 percent of their own partisans (although with a few more Republicans defecting than Democrats), and independents swinging for Cuccinelli 44 – 42 — whether or not the usual Republican advantage will hold true is anybody’s game.
Q also has nothing on McDonnell. But it’s perfectly obvious McD’s scandal has hurt Cuccinelli. Letter “R” links them.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) August 21, 2013
And of course, the gender gap. Oh, the gender gap.
The candidates break even 45 – 46 percent among men while McAuliffe takes women 50 – 38 percent. Cuccinelli wins white voters 50 – 42 percent, while black voters go Democratic 74 – 7 percent.