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Although the Democrats' numbers are higher, they're all in or near the poll's margin of error.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
With fewer than 50 days until Election day, large blocks of voters remain undecided in Virginia’s three statewide races, and the gubernatorial race remains a statistical dead heat between two suffering from resilient unpopularity, a new Roanoke College poll shows.
At 35 percent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads by a statistically insignificant 2 percentage points over Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s 33 percent, according to the poll of 874 likely voters last week with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Libertarian Robert Sarvis is at 8 percent.
“Voters continue to learn more about the candidates, but, in this case, familiarity appears to be breeding contempt,” said Harry Wilson, director of the college’s Institute for Policy and Opinion Research, in a Thursday news release.
Both candidates had unfavorable ratings that surpassed their favorables, the poll shows. Some 42 percent of voters have an unfavorable impression of Cuccinelli, compared to 28 percent favorable. McAulliffe’s numbers are somewhat closer at 31 percent unfavorable and 27 percent favorable.
As part of the poll, people were asked the first thought or word that came to mind in response to each candidate’s name. Overall each received responses that were 70 percent positive, but the most common response for each candidate was “dishonest,” with 13 percent saying that word in regard to McAuliffe, and 10 percent for Cuccinelli.
For all that, nearly a quarter of voters remain undecided in the governors race, the poll found, with independents twice as likely to be undecided as Democrats or Republicans. Moderates and conservatives are twice as likely to be undecided as liberals, though McAuliffe leads among moderates, 42 percent to 23 percent. Cuccinelli leads by a statistically insignificant 31 percent to 30 percent among independents.
Voters are even more in limbo in the downticket races, with a third undecided for both offices. Democrat Ralph Northam holds a very thin lead at 34 percent to Republican E.W. Jackson’s 30 percent for lieutenant governor. Democrat Mark Herring at 33 percent and Republican Mark Obenshain at 31 percent are in a statistical dead-heat for attorney general.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday showed similar results, with McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli 44 percent to 41 percent, including voters who are leaning to one candidate, which is within the poll’s margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Other recent polls had showed McAuliffe leading outside the margin of error. Sarvis was supported by 7 percent of likely Virginia voters, according to the Quinnipiac poll.
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