Democrat showing solid lead in Virginia governor's race: poll

RICHMOND, Virginia Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:15pm EDT

Democratic nominee for Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe stands onstage as former U.S. President Bill Clinton (unseen) campaigns for him at an event in Dale City, Virginia, October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Democratic nominee for Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe stands onstage as former U.S. President Bill Clinton (unseen) campaigns for him at an event in Dale City, Virginia, October 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - Democrat Terry McAuliffe's lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the widely watched Virginia governor's race may be helping lower-level Democratic candidates in a state hard hit by the recent government shutdown, a poll showed on Wednesday.

A Roanoke College poll showed businessman and former Democratic National Committee Chairman McAuliffe with a 15-point lead over state Attorney General Cuccinelli, though that margin was far stronger than in two other polls.

"This election is shaping up to be a referendum on Cuccinelli," said Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College.

Cuccinelli, a Tea Party favorite and strong abortion opponent, was hurt by this month's federal government shutdown and now has a 52 percent unfavorable rating among likely voters, compared with McAuliffe's 33 percent unfavorability, the poll found.

"When you're in the 40s, that's high. When you hit the 50s, you're in uncharted territory," Wilson said.

Six days before the November 5 election, he said McAuliffe appeared to have "coattails" pulling along fellow Democrats, including attorney general candidate Mark Herring, now leading Republican Mark Obenshain by 46 percent to 35 percent. A poll earlier this month showed that race a statistical dead heat.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Democrat Ralph Northam leads Republican E.W. Jackson 48 percent to 32 percent.


Two other polls released on Wednesday also had McAuliffe leading, but by smaller margins. A Quinnipiac University survey found McAuliffe ahead of Cuccinelli 45 percent to 41 percent.

A poll by the Hampton University Center for Public Policy put McAuliffe ahead of Cuccinelli 42 percent to 36 percent.

The race in the political swing state is being watched closely as a bellwether for 2014 congressional elections. Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is barred by law from seeking a second term.

The election could show the impact of this month's government shutdown and face off over the U.S. debt limit on the Republican Party. Polls in Virginia, which relies heavily on federal paychecks and contracts, have shown that Republicans are widely blamed for the shutdown.

McAuliffe is a friend of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both of whom have campaigned and raised money for him in the election.

Cuccinelli has been damaged by the shutdown and for accepting gifts from a Virginia businessman whose separate gift-giving to McDonnell has sparked a federal investigation.

A Washington Post-ABT-SRBI poll on Monday showed McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli by 51 percent to 39 percent.

The margins of error are 3.4 percentage points for the Roanoke poll and 2.9 percentage points for both the Quinnipiac and Hampton surveys.

(Editing by Ian Simpson and Dan Grebler)

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Comments (9)
michael10sley wrote:
Finally some payback to the Republicans and especially to Cruz who took us to the brink of a shutdown.
All the Democrats in Virginia will win and that bodes well for the rest of the country in the 2014 elections.
Get rid of the Tea Party and a lot of the others (144) who supported Cruz’s effort and get a House of Representatives that will actually do some work.
A Democratic majority would be great but at the least, the Republicans who do get elected will realize they have to work across the aisle.

Oct 30, 2013 5:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sicoftea wrote:
Not to mention Republican Gov. Ken of Virginia losing the women vote by over 20% because he wants to force women to get a internal vag probe…..sicko!

Oct 30, 2013 7:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
G-3 wrote:
Glad to see the rape-apologist cooch getting a taste of his own misogynistic medicine. Its a good feeling to know that cooch and his lolbertarian buddy sarvis wont ever see Virginia become the racist corporatist utopia they so desire!!

Oct 31, 2013 9:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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