POLLING MEMO

From: Geoff Garin, Hart Research Date: September 10, 2013 Re: State of the Virginia Governor’s Race With less than two months until Election Day, recent public polls show Democrat Terry McAuliffe pulling ahead of Republican Ken Cuccinelli in a tightly contested race for the Virginia governor’s mansion. Polling Data McAuliffe (D) Cuccinelli (R) 45 38 48 42 43 39

Poll Rasmussen Quinnipiac Quinnipiac

Date 9/3 - 9/4 8/14 - 8/19 7/11 - 7/15

Spread McAuliffe +7 McAuliffe +6 McAuliffe +4

Because the Virginia governor’s race takes place a year after the Presidential election, turnout is substantially lower compared to Presidential years. In 2008, 75 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in an historic election featuring the first African-American nominee in U.S. history. The following year, turnout dropped to 40 percent of registered voters and voters sent Republican Bob McDonnell to the governor’s mansion. In each of the last nine Virginia governor’s races, voters rejected the party of the President elected the year before. In order to avoid the fate of past Democratic gubernatorial nominees in similar circumstances, McAuliffe must do each of the following:    Turn out strong Democratic voters who typically vote in the off-year election Expand the electorate by turning out a portion of the coalition that voted for President Obama in 2012 Win over moderate voters who do not align fully with either major party

Republicans have shown that they are willing to commit significant resources to win this race. The Republican Governors Association alone has already spent more than $7 million on Cuccinelli’s behalf, a number that is sure to increase. Nevertheless, recent polling shows McAuliffe maintaining a small but significant lead, while voters harbor serious concerns about a Cuccinelli candicacy. According to Quinnipiac, only 35 percent of likely voters viewed Cuccinelli favorably, while 41 percent viewed him unfavorably and 22 percent were unsure. The momentum is clearly in McAuliffe’s favor in this close race, with victory predicated on the Democrat’s ability to communicate his message to undecided voters and execute a strong voter turnout effort in the final two months.

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