McAulife leads Cuccinelli by 5,with many voters still up or grabs.
As we enter a key stretch o the Virginia Gubernato-rial race, Democrat Terry McAulie holds a 5-pointlead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, 43% to 38%.With 19% undecided and nearly two months to go,this race remains volatile.McAulie has nearly consolidated Democrats,leading 84% to 3%. Cuccinelli has room to growamong Republicans (77% to 6%), and leads amongindependent voters (45% to 33%). There is a strongsplit on education lines: McAulie leads by 18among those with a college degree (48% to 30%),and Cuccinelli has a solid 11-point lead amongthose without a college degree (48% to 37%).The gender gap in this election is strong: McAuliehas an 18-point lead and a majority among women(50% to 32%), while Cuccinelli has the advantageamong men (45% to 35%). The race also cleaveson predictable regional divides. McAulie holdsleads in Northern Virginia (53% to 28%), and in theI-64 corridor including Richmond and TidewaterVirginia (52% to 33%). Cuccinelli is ahead in thecentral part o the state (44% to 31%) and has amajority in southwestern Virginia (51% to 34%).
In hypothetical 2016 match-ups in Virginia, HillaryClinton has a 7-point lead over Rand Paul, and aslight 2-point lead over Chris Christie.
Virginia will be a key swing state in the 2016election, as it was in 2012 and 2008. To get anearly look, we tested ormer Senator/Secretaryo State Hillary Clinton against two potentialRepublican nominees, Senator Rand Paul andGovernor Chris Christie.Clinton ares well in a hypothetical match-upagainst Rand Paul, leading 48% to 41%. In thismatch-up, she has almost unanimous supportamong Democrats (93% to 3%), while Paul captures just ¾ o GOP voters (77% to 9%).Against Chris Christie, Clinton leads by just 2points, 42% to 40%. Clinton’s support amongDemocrats is lower against Christie (82% to 9%).Christie also does better among independents –he leads by 13 against Clinton, while Paul leadsClinton by 9.The gender gap is extremely wide in both match-ups. Women preer Clinton to Paul by 18 (55%to 37%), while men avor Paul by 5 (46% to 41%).Clinton leads Christie by 16 among women (50%to 34%), while Christie reverses that advantageamong men, leading by 14 (47% to 33%).
Virginia voters do not like their gubernatorialcandidates.
The Virginia governor’s race pits two o the leastwell-liked candidates that we can recall competingin a single election. Just 24% o Virginians have aavorable impression o Democrat Terry McAulie(39% unavorable). Similarly, 29% have a avorableview o Ken Cuccinelli (49% unavorable). Bothhave comparable net ratings with embattledGovernor Bob McDonnell (31%/44%).Even partisans do not particularly like theircandidates. Just a bare majority o Democratshave a avorable view o McAulie (53%/14%).Cuccinelli has similar challenges among hispartisans (slightly better-liked among his partisans(54%/16%). Importantly, he is no better liked amongRepublicans than current Governor Bob McDonnell(55% avorable, 16% unavorable among Republicans).As Alex Castellanos, ounding partner o PurpleStrategies, commented, “This could be a volatilerace until the last minute. In Virginia, we seem tohave two candidates running against each other,neither o whom can possibly win.”Voters are slightly more likely to believe thatMcAulie “shares their values” (41% to 35%), will“make Virginia a better place (40% to 34%), andwill “improve the economy” (39% to 35%). However,voters are evenly divided on which candidate ismost ethical (36% McAulie, 35% Cuccinelli), with30% unsure.One o these two candidates will win the race. Atthe same time, it also appears that most Virginianswill be unsatisied whomever they choose.