There are two states that have gubernatorial races this year which are in New Jersey and Virginia. As most readers know, I’ve done some coverage of New Jersey lately and it is pretty obvious where the race is going.
But as for Virginia, our coverage of the race has been relatively scant. We’ve got our own post on E.W. Jackson obviously and talked a little bit about the definitive end of Bob McDonnell’s 2016 thoughts, but otherwise; we’ve largely ignored the race.
However two recent polls have emerged from The Old Dominion that has really summed up the race quite well in my eye’s. Before we get into some analysis and number deciphering, let’s take a look at the two polls that have come out in the past few days.
Public Policy Polling – Released July 16th:
- Terry McAuliffe (D): 41%, Ken Cuccinelli (R): 37%, Robert Sarvis (L): 7%
Quinnipiac – Released July 18th:
- Terry McAuliffe (D): 43%, Ken Cuccinelli (R): 38%, Robert Sarvis (L): Not polled
Let’s get to the first matter at hand. How does Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian Party candidate, nearly poll into low double digits? As PPP stated in their poll, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli are both viewed negatively (Cuccinelli seen favorable by a terrible 32% to 45% margin, McAuliffe at a slightly underwater 34% to 36%) and Sarvis, being mentioned as a third option, is the beneficiary of that. Keep in mind however that while I do expect Sarvis to crack the single-digits, I find it nearly impossible he winds up with that high of a percentage. In private polls, voters tend to just pick the third option out of apathy but usually come home to one of the two major parties.
Then again, if there was a race for Sarvis to poll this high; this probably would be the one given the two major party candidates at hand.
First you have Ken Cuccinelli who is the Tea Party firebrand that is currently the Attorney General of the state. Cooch hasn’t really done himself any favors since he announced his run as he found a way to irritate some of the party establishment in the state. Then some of his very Akinesque views came to the forefront especially his role in trying to “ban” oral and anal sex from consenting adults, which is definitely how you lose support amongst voters.
However, Cuccinelli isn’t alone in polarizing voters as former DNC chairman and noted Clinton family ally Terry McAuliffe is struggling to connect with voters as well. This is McAuliffe’s second run for the Governor’s Mansion as he was unsuccessful in getting the Democratic nomination in 2009 but his problems are different from Cuccinelli. He’s not necessarily controversial, he’s just really….kind of…. completely unlikable to voters.
Still, it seems like all McAuliffe has to do is not be Ken Cuccinelli to win this contest and given Cuccinelli having to share a ticket with E.W. Jackson (though Jackson is below him as opposed to vice versa and unlikely to cause that much damage) as well as Cuccinelli’s proximity to the now-embattled Bob McDonnell, its good to be T-Mac.
The good news for Democrats is that there isn’t a Democrat who is better connected than Terry McAuliffe. Due to his tenure as DNC chair, McAuliffe can practically blink and raise a million dollars. Also Virginia may not quite be a “safe” blue state yet, but its trending away from its purple hue and status as a battleground state.
Is the race over yet? Certainly not; but as of right now you have to peg down McAuliffe as the slight favorite as we reach the middle of summer.