I get a text message last night from my occasional writing partner, Paul Goldman. He’s read some poll numbers from an outfit called Purple Strategies that surprise him. So I go check the data and, sure enough, there are some surprises in this poll of likely voters.

The headline number shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe five points ahead. He ought to be when the poll’s partisan split is 33D/28R/33I and 6 percent who “don’t know.” With the poll’s 3.5 percentage point margin of error, we see that even with this split, the race is still a toss-up with a big undecided vote:

McAuliffe has nearly consolidated Democrats, leading 84% to 3%. Cuccinelli has room to grow among Republicans (77% to 6%), and leads among independent voters (45% to 33%). There is a strong split on education lines: McAuliffe leads by 18 among those with a college degree (48% to 30%), and Cuccinelli has a solid 11-point lead among those without a college degree (48% to 37%)

So Ken has “room to grow” among Republicans. He also faces a yawning gender gap. But then we see this:

… voters are evenly divided on which candidate is most ethical (36% McAuliffe, 35% Cuccinelli), with 30% unsure.

Behind those numbers, and that very short line, lie months of effort and millions of campaign dollars. The result of all of it — GreenTech and Star Scientific, gifts and graft alike — is that voters in this poll see the two major party candidates as even on ethics.

[Continue reading Norman Leahy’s post at Bearing Drift.]

Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.