Poll: McAuliffe Has 7-Point Lead in Va. Race

Poll: McAuliffe Has 7-Point Lead in Va. Race

By Adam O'Neal - November 1, 2013

Just days from the Virginia gubernatorial election, a new poll shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a seven-point lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli. The results of the survey are similar to the RealClearPolitics polling average, which currently shows McAuliffe holding an 8.4-point lead. (One recent poll found the race to be tightening, however.)

The prolific Democratic Party fundraiser has the support of 45 percent of likely voters in the state, according to the survey by the Wason Center for Public Policy. Attorney General Cuccinelli only gets 38 percent. McAuliffe’s lead is driven by his strong support among female voters: He maintains a 16-point “gender gap advantage,” with 51 percent of women supporting him to Cuccinelli’s 35 percent.

McAuliffe also leads among independents, 42 percent to 34 percent. And while the Democrat has 93 percent backing from members of his own party, one in five Republicans will not support Cuccinelli.

Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who has hovered in the high single digits and low double digits recently, garners 10 percent of the vote. Sarvis’ level of support, rare for a third-party candidate, is primarily a function of the electorate’s dislike for the major party candidates: two-thirds of his backers said they are casting a “protest vote” against McAuliffe or Cuccinelli.

The GOP nominee, however, has been more damaged by the upswing in support for Sarvis: 37 percent of Sarvis voters would have supported Cuccinelli if Sarvis wasn’t on the ballot; only 17 percent say the same about McAuliffe.

Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center, asserted that Sarvis is “not going to fade” by Election Day.

Down ballot, Democrat Ralph Northam maintains a solid lead over Republican E.W. Jackson in the lieutenant governor race, 51 percent to 35 percent. In the contest for attorney general, Republican Mark Obenshain leads Democrat Mark Herring, 45 percent to 43 percent, which is within the survey’s margin of error.

“That’s a lot of ballot-switching,” said Kidd, referring to Obenshain’s bipartisan appeal.

The survey of 1,185 registered Virginia voters, including 1,038 likely voters, was conducted Oct. 25-30. The margin of error among likely voters was plus or minus three percentage points. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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