Another survey shows dead heat in Va. governor’s race


Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe, left, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are neck-and-neck in the latest poll on the Virginia governor’s race. (Bob Brown, Steve Helber/Associated Press)
January 23, 2013

New poll, same result: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and businessman Terry McAuliffe remain deadlocked in the Virginia governor’s race, a fresh survey shows, even as a significant chunk of voters in the commonwealth remain undecided.

The Christopher Newport University poll finds McAuliffe (D) getting 31 percent to Cuccinelli’s (R) 30 percent among registered voters, with 33 percent still unsure of their choice more than nine months before Election Day.

Both men have clear paths to their respective parties’ nominations after prospective challengers fell by the wayside. But Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) is still considering entering the race as an Independent. The new poll shows Bolling draws 9 percent support in a three-way matchup, while McAuliffe and Cuccinelli each get 27 percent, suggesting Bolling would take votes away from both men.

A Quinnipiac University poll released this month also showed McAuliffe and Cuccinelli in a statistical tie, though with fewer undecided voters and with Bolling doing slightly better in a three-way contest.

The CNU poll also tried weighting the results using different statistical assumptions based on past exit polls. “That outcome changes when the turnout is weighted to reflect the voters in 2009 versus 2012,” writes Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at CNU.

Not surprisingly, the survey shows that McAuliffe would benefit if turnout resembles that of 2012, when President Obama won the state for the second consecutive election, whereas Cuccinelli would gain if this year’s electorate looks more like the older, whiter one of 2009 that swept Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) to victory.

Both Obama and McDonnell get job approval ratings of 51 percent in the survey, while Obama’s disapproval stands at 43 percent and McDonnell’s at 24 percent.

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