Democrat Terry McAuliffe holds a narrow lead over Republican attorney general Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling.
The poll finds McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli by a 41 to 37 percent margin — 7 percent support Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, and 15 percent are undecided. McAuliffe’s 4 percent lead is essentially unchanged from his 5-point advantage in PPP’s previous poll of the race in late May. Additionally, a Rasmussen poll in early June showed McAuliffe with a similar 44 to 41 percent lead.
Both candidates remain unpopular among Virginia voters — 29 percent view McAuliffe favorably, while 33 percent view him unfavorably. That negative rating looks positively rosy compared to Cuccinelli, however; 32 percent hold positive views of the right-wing attorney general, while 44 percent view him negatively.
“The governor’s race is shaping up exactly as expected — voters don’t care for either Ken Cuccinelli or Terry McAuliffe,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement. “But at this point they have a bigger problem with Cuccinelli than they do with McAuliffe.”
Cuccinelli’s problems may be deepening. A The New York Times report published on Monday suggests that Cuccinelli may have closer ties to the Star Scientific gifts scandal that has dogged Virginia governor Bob McDonnell. The report reveals that Cuccinelli received $18,000 worth of gifts from Star Scientific’s chief executive — some of which he failed to report, along with his stock in the company. Cuccinelli says that this was an oversight, but McAuliffe should have ample opportunity to tie the Republican to the controversy that has left McDonnell’s approval rating at an all-time low.
For now, McAuliffe is attacking Cuccinelli for his views on Social Security and Medicare. On Tuesday, the McAuliffe campaign released a new television ad questioning Cuccinelli’s Paul Ryan-esque views on the social safety net:
There’s certain to be more where that came from. According to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, McAuliffe now has $6 million in cash on hand — more than double Cuccinelli’s total of $2.7 million.
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