Skip to comments.McAuliffe Leads Cuccinelli in Virginia Governor Race (41-40%)
Posted on 10/24/2013 9:27:46 PM PDT by Maelstorm
OCTOBER 24, 2013 A new Wenzel Strategies poll of likely voters in Virginia shows the race for governor is a pretty tight contest, though Democrat Terry McAuliffe continues to enjoy a small lead. It all depends on what the turnout is going to be, and whether Democrats who turned out in big numbers last year for President Obama come out again for McAuliffe.
There is evidence in the new WS survey that that will not be the case, as both McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli are not held in high esteem in the minds of voters and more people are discouraged with the general direction of the state than are encouraged. The Wenzel Strategies survey shows McAuliffe leading, 41% to 40%, with the balance of voters either favoring Libertarian Rob Sarvis (10%) or undecided.
The Wenzel Strategies poll, using a turnout model that is closely balanced, includes a sample of 28% Democrats, 26% Republicans, and 46% independent voters. This reflects the swing-state tradition of Virginia that has lately leaned toward Republicans in statewide, non-presidential years, but has tilted to the Democrats in recent presidential elections.
Using a turnout model replicated by Quinnipiac University in its recent survey, weighting the sample to include 33% Democrats, 25% Republicans, and 42% independents or minor party supporters, McAuliffe leads with 43%, compared to 38% Cuccinelli, 10% for Sarvis and 9% yet undecided. This reflects a slight tightening of the race, compared to the Quinnipiac survey that showed McAuliffe with a 7-point lead.
The survey shows there is reason to believe the race may well be tightening going into the final stretch, as a key issue benefitting McAuliffe fades into the rearview mirror the recent government shutdown, which hit some parts of Virginia hard. As the shutdown fades, another key issue that benefits Cuccinelli the expanding controversy over the bungled rollout of Obamacare is bound to grab more attention among voters by the day. It could well be that Cuccinelli has bounced off his low point and is headed up.
Finally, the question of how many conservative voters who say now that they support Sarvis will actually follow through and vote for him is yet unanswered. Voters who are disaffected with the political establishment can say they are supporting a third-party candidate, but actually casting a ballot for a spoiler is quite another matter. Outsiders have won GOP primary elections in recent cycles, but my sense is it is less likely to happen in this instance, when Sarvis supporters know it could well lead directly to the election of someone whose political philosophy is completely opposite of their own.
Uncertainty on this question is further compounded by the fact that 53% of Virginians dont even know enough about Sarvis to have formed an opinion about him. His support must be considered soft at best. In addition, a significant percentage said they were yet unsure about the race 9% are yet undecided, yet are likely to vote.
The Wenzel Strategies survey shows voters are split on both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli. While 45% said they have a favorable opinion of McAuliffe, 46% have an unfavorable opinion of him. For Cuccinelli, 47% hold a favorable opinion, while 50% have an unfavorable opinion of him.
McAuliffe has done a better job locking down his political base, perhaps in part to recent campaigning in the state by both Clintons, who are longtime allies of McAuliffe. Among Democrats, McAuliffe wins 81% support. Among Republicans, Cuccinelli wins just 68% support. Among those who consider themselves political independents, Cuccinelli wins 44% support, compared to 33% for McAuliffe and 11% for Sarvis.
If cuchenelli wins then we been lied to big time. Hope no one is discouraged from voting. If he does win i hopehe goes after his enemies.
It is all about turnout - which is why I cannot place too much value in these polls. And unfortunately, while I am fine with Cucinneli’s stances on the social issues, the turnout for him will be whether or not voters who personally are angered by his views on the social issues will be able to look past it so that they don’t leave Virginia stuck with a socialist opponents of free enterprise. I know of several University students who have been campaigning and going door to door for Cucinelli despite their personal vehement disagreement with him - and for the record, of course, I personally do NOT share these disagreements - on several social issues because, simply put, they can see that he is the only chance VA has at getting a Governor who won’t become the arch enemy of businesses, big and small, in this state.
The elephant in the room is the libertarian. With him out of the mix, the Republican would be winning handily. We had some libertarians spoil some races last year too. Sadly I think it’s only going to get worse. Libertarians are poised to hand most of the country over to the Democrats by spoiling these races. The libertarian should try to win in the Republican primary and if they don’t, stay out of the race because they clearly won’t be able to win in the general if they can’t win a primary against just one of the candidates.
If Cucinnelli wins, I think he should pursue investigations of these polling companies.
Yes...3rd parties ruin a lot of races.
I agree but I think McAuliffe may be overdoing it with his over the top ads about Cuccinelli. Most are just outright lies. Cuccinelli has never opposed birth control. He is simply Prolife and the only thing he has did is push for abortion clinics to meet the same safety standards as any clinic or hospital. Cuccinelli seldom talks or emphasizes social issues. He’s not favorable to gay activists. It doesn’t mean he hates gays nor is it the primary concern of his. I’m glad some students are doing this because it is extremely important to have a Governor who will hold the line on growth of state government and fight against federal encroachment like Obamacare. A Terry McAuliffe in office is like mainlining the worst of Obama’s and Clinton’s Washington. Thanks for your insight.
I absolutely agree with that. And, at the very least, remain hopeful that Virginians have much more good sense and judgement than the rest of America in that regard. I am optimistic that authentic Virginians, as opposed to the Maryland and DC transplants, are gonna turn out in much larger numbers than conservatives did for Romney. Only problem is that bracing yourself for huge letdowns has become a necessity if you are not a leftist complete statist.
Looks like a dead heat,but the MSM has it as McAuliffe leading!
It’s ridiculous that for all the Libertarians who rant about Ron Paul, they won’t leave Sarvis after Paul endorsed Ken.
I think the support for Sarvis will collapse. It is weak support and there is no reason outside of stupidity to vote Sarvis who can’t win if you believe in limited constitutional government which Ken has a clear record on.
Ken being endorsed by Ron Paul and Rand Paul is helping a lot. I can understand protest votes when its too big government types but this race has two candidates who couldn’t be more different. We have an extreme leftwing big money Democrat who supports gun control, supports partial birth abortion, supports Obamacare, supports killing coal, and supports spending tax payers money till the state surplus is no more.
I would hope if there are some GOP voters among them that they would come to their senses on election day.
Sarvis needs to bow out...and, hopefully, endorse Cooch.
All I can say from my door knocking in central Virginia is that I’m seeing increased enthusiasm from Red Virginia. They aren’t equivocating. Most of the voters I’m contacting are voting straight GOP. I’ve worked on campaigns that were not doing well and one of those was Jim Gilmores senate campaign in 2008 and the one feature I kept running into was Republicans who were voting for Warner. It was bad. That was one reason I was absolutely shocked by the Ras poll which thankfully was an outlier. This race is about turnout and if conservatives don’t turn out for our GOP ticket this year then they deserve to lose Virginia.
Fair enough, even in worst case scenario that Ken does not win, turnout from actual Virginians should be enough to ensure that the VA legislature is still dominated by actual Virginians who would sooner die that let Terry turn in into a carbon copy of Maryland.
Crap... that spells trouble for Cuccinelli (and all GOP candidates, from what I've seen).
I agree. I don’t think the GOP are going to have a problem maintaining their legislature advantage. Monday Rand Paul is going to be in the state. I’m going to try to make it to that rally.
Yep. Libertarian spoiler. Needs to bow out, NOW!
If you have a chance to speak to Rand, please tell him to drop his endorsement of Traitor Midge and to support Matt Bevin, for Senator. Thanks.
I never trust polls as they are manipulated from the start.
Including Rasmussen? Ever since Scott’s departure, Ras Reports has turned into Zogby Special Sauce. First with them showing BO having a 52% approval rate and a few days ago having Cucinelli trailing by 17 points. What the hell has happened to them? In the past, Ras would have shown Obama in a range of 39%-43% approval in this type of current political environment.
In this case, something fishy is going on, and with Fast Terry involved, I am not surprised.
I’d sure like to see that but I doubt that will happen. I support Bevin. That is the problem with endorsing too early. I can cut Rand a break on that. I understand that he has a long view of things. You can’t wage war on all sides at all times. If Bevin wins then Rand can embrace him if he doesn’t he doesn’t have heat coming at him from McConnell. McConnell is polling weakly against his Democrat opponent. Bevin has to prove he has the ability to raise his name recognition enough to win this race and win in a way that doesn’t cause too many GOP to hate him. Rand was able to win and I think Bevin can too. However Bevin seems to lack some of the political instinct of Rand Paul.
The closer this race remains, even if Cuccinelli loses, it should still be enough to get Mark Obenshain across the line for Attorney General (and there is no 3rd party candidate in that race). Bishop Jackson may also fare better than expected for Lt Governor, despite the vicious attacks he has endured.
I don’t think Sarvis is getting out the race though it would make sense. Sarvis has run as a Republican in the past so it wouldn’t be a leap. The problem with some libertarians though is they are really Democrats at heart or they have no intention of even trying to win. Its an ego thing. I have many libertarian friends and I consider myself very libertarian in the Atlas Shrugs mode but my experience with libertarians is they are doing it not to win but as a protest. If the Libertarian party wanted to win they wouldn’t just rally behind Ron Paul they’d rally behind individual Senate, Gov, and House Libertarian candidates that have good resumes and don’t sound like nut jobs. Then maybe they’d actually win something which I actually think would be a good thing.
Sarvis I believe will probably attract more young idealistic voters in the end which of course will not be a very large segment of the electorate in this off year election. That will mean he will probably hurt McAuliffe more when election day arrives and older wiser libertarians migrate to Cuccinelli.
Sarvis also will be attracting more people who probably wouldn’t have shown up at all otherwise. I’ll be concerned on election night if the initial returns show Sarvis getting anything close to 5% of the vote.
I think you may be correct. I have a suspicion that Jackson will over perform his polling. I also believe the GOP ticket has made a mistake in under utilizing him. The GOP finally have some color on the ticket and they let him be treated like a red headed step child but then again the GOP tends to be afraid of its own shadow. Out of all of the volunteers and voters Jackson voters are the most loyal and motivated and I’ve noticed minority voters are very open to him. Obenshain I believe has a great chance of winning and he is an excellent conservative candidate. I haven’t encountered any ticket splitters like I did when I was working on the Gilmore Senate campaign in 2008 which is good. I am also not getting any sore puss GOP talking about how bad Ken, Jackson are which is also good.
That's awful. The changing Virginia demographics and this Libertarian spoiler candidate don't make a Cuccinelli victory very likely. Which is extremely sad...
How many of those libertopians would vote for McAuliffe over Ken?
The Republican State Leadership Committee is actually pouring money into the Obenshain race. Mitt, Rubio, Scott Walker, and Rand Paul have all helped fundraise but many McDonnell donors are sitting on their money because of course they are just corporatists and are upset that Ken can’t be bought like McDonnell was.
Where is Rand Paul going to be? I would love to see him speak.
He’s doing two events.
One in Virginia Beach:
Well, if more states had runoff or instant runoff elections, we wouldn’t have to worry about spoilers. No one should be able to win with less than 50% of the people preferring them. That’s not democratic. If someone gets 45% of the vote, the majority of the voters might never have voted for them, but we don’t know that in a multi-candidate race without a runoff calculation.
Let’s keep in mind if Texas didn’t have a runoff in their Republican primary, Ted Cruz wouldn’t be a Senator now. He trailed Dewhurst in the primary, but Dewhurst only got 45%. The runoff was held and Cruz beat him 57 to 43.
“Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst failed to capture the 50 percent necessary to win the Republican nomination Tuesday, forcing him into an unpredictable nine week run-off campaign with former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz...”
“With 95 percent of the vote in, Dewhurst was leading the second-place Cruz, 45 percent to 34 percent.”
I think if war was an issue, the anti-war libertarian contingent would push more to the Dem side. But a race like this is probably hinging more on fiscal policy, so I would think at least 2-to-1 of the libertarian vote would swing to the Republican.
I agree entirely. I have suggested the same. I wish that the GOP would adopt it for primaries universally and I’d love if every state had a run off where candidates must get 50% to avoid a run off. It would benefit everyone except those who wish to spilt and dilute voters intent which of course is exactly what the political class want.
Thank you. Can definitely make the Fairfax one.
Is Cuccinelli running hard against ObamaCare? He was one of the original legal pioneers against it, and must play that up.
>> The elephant in the room is the libertarian.
Really? Was that true in 2012?
Third parties don't win but can be spoilers.
Big difference between Presidential elections and off-cycle state elections. Turnout will be much lower -- which usually is to the benefit of the Republican candidate.
In the 2011 state senate elections, the GOP had 200,000 more votes for its candidates statewide than did the ‘Rats, even though the GOP had 11 uncontested district victories. The ‘Rat redistricting of the senate allowed them to achieve a 20-20 tie.
Here in northern Virginia, there are maybe 4 or 5 House of Delegates races (out of 35 or so seats in the region) that are competitive The lack of competitive races with local political operations is not going to help Terry McAwful.
They are now even so they had to rush out a push poll to show that mcawful has a slim lead.
Libertarians - we stand for nothing and fall for every thing.
A victory is not impossible—just improbable. We need a large turnout for Ken and a somewhat depressed Dem turnout. The Dems have already built up a lead based on polls of early voting. The Dems are very good at rounding up their voters and getting them to vote prior to election day. No doubt some fraud is also involved.
Not necessarily. Many of these voters would stay home and not vote for Rep or Dem. This idea of third parties drawing votes from the Reps and Dems is overblown. The very fact that there is a third party candidate or even more fringe parties is an indication of people being disaffected from the main parties.