Memorandum

Date: To: From: October 17, 2013 Interested Parties Andrew Myers & Lauren Spangler Status of the Contest – VA HD86 According to the results of our recent survey of 400 likely November voters, Democrat Jennifer Boysko and 12-year Republican incumbent Tom Rust are locked in a statistical dead heat, 45 to 48 percent1, a +16 point net shift toward Boysko from earlier this year. The fact that Rust is below the critical majority point with less than three weeks remaining until Election Day is troubling news for him and has certainly not been helped by the political environment that has essentially collapsed around Republicans. Part of Rust’s success historically has been his ability to appeal to Democrats in what is a strongly Democratic district. Today, however, Democrats have moved away from Rust and give him net-negative personal reviews (25 percent warm, or favorable, to 30 percent cool, or unfavorable), the lowest favorable rating we have seen for him among Democrats since 2007. Just as important, however is the movement away from Rust among his base, particularly middle-of-the-road moderate Republicans, a trend we are seeing throughout Northern Virginia. Rust captures support from just 78 percent of these moderate Republicans, with 15 percent defecting to Boysko. The broader trends for Democrats in this district reinforce the fact that voters want to back a Democratic candidate at every level. At the top of the ticket, Democrat Terry McAuliffe sits above majority and leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli, 53 to 41 percent. Additionally, in the generic ballot, an unnamed Democrat leads an unnamed Republican, 48 to 42 percent, the most favorable generic ballot we have seen in Rust’s district since before the Democratic collapse in Virginia in July 2009. Bottom line, this contest has become incredibly competitive and has the potential to come down to the wire if Boysko is able to continue to communicate her forward-looking vision for Virginia and draw a contrast with Rust and his record, a record that is not as moderate as he makes it out to be.
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These findings are based on a survey of 400 likely November general election voters in Virginia’s 86th House of Delegates District. Calling took place from October 13-15, 2013, and interviews were conducted by professional interviewers supervised by Myers Research | Strategic Services staff. The data were stratified to reflect the projected geographical contribution to the total expected vote. The margin of error associated with these data at a 95 in 100 percent confidence level is +/- 4.9 percent. The margin of error for subgroups is greater and varies.

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