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Wait, the Va. governor’s race is a dead heat?


Another day, another poll, this one from Wenzel Strategies, which finds the gubernatorial race is … a dead heat.

That’s right, according to these numbers:

Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli by a 41% to 40% margin, with Libertarian Rob Sarvis winning 10%. Another 9% of likely voters said they were yet undecided in the race.

So how do we get to these figures?

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.

Bearing Drift’s poll of the gubernatorial race used a much more traditional, more Republican, voter turnout for the off-year election. We found, back in September, that the race was also a dead heat. That was a terrible result for the Cuccinelli campaign — which is why the Republican press operation gave us no notice that day.

So it really all comes down to who folks think will show up on election day. Most polls believe turnout will more closely resemble that of the presidential race. Could be. And if it so, that will be one of the biggest stories of this election. Even the Wenzel poll shows a slightly more Democratic turnout.

Reason for Cuccinelli supporters to cheer? Sure. Until we get to this:

[Continue reading Norman Leahy’s post at]

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.

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