But McAuliffe has gained a modest edge over Cuccinelli in being seen as honest and trustworthy since last month.
Allison O’Connor, 41, of Fairfax County, an educator in the George Mason University library, likes McAuliffe primarily because he is not Cuccinelli.
“I am so averse to Ken Cuccinelli that even though I don’t know much about the Democratic candidate, that’s who I am voting for,” she said.
Michael Wilson, 72, of Clarke County is a self-employed blacksmith who said he’s voting for Cuccinelli mostly because he doesn’t like McAuliffe.
“I really don’t like McAuliffe — he’s the quintessence of everything that is wrong with politics in America today,” said Wilson, who has lived in Virginia since 1993. “I followed this guy for years — he’s just a foul ball. There’s nothing good about this man that would make him a good leader for anything.”
More than a third of registered voters polled say they were inconvenienced by the shutdown, compared with 22 percent in a national Post-ABC poll released last week. More than eight in 10 disapprove of the shutdown, and 51 percent blame the Republicans in Congress for it. Three in 10 say they blame President Obama. Those who had negative views or experiences with the shutdown support McAuliffe over Cuccinelli by wide margins. Some 55 percent say the shutdown is very important in their vote, and those voters say they back McAuliffe by more than 2 to 1 over Cuccinelli.
Virginia Republicans have been hoping that the smaller electorate that typically turns out for the state’s off-year gubernatorial contest would benefit Cuccinelli, as it did when McDonnell won in a landslide in 2009, a year after Virginia helped put Obama in the White House. But the poll finds McAuliffe with a substantial lead across a variety of high- and low-turnout scenarios. Among all registered voters, McAuliffe’s supporters are slightly more apt to say they are “absolutely certain” they will go to the polls than Cuccinelli’s.
The Post/Abt SRBI poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 24-27 among a random sample of 762 likely voters in the Virginia gubernatorial election, including users of both land-line and cellular phones. The margin of sampling error for results among likely voters is 4.5 percentage points.
Dan Balz, Scott Clement, Leah Binkovitz and Victoria St. Martin contributed to this report.