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McAuliffe Obama

With one day to go in the Virginia gubernatorial race, businessman and former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe (D) remains on track to defeat Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and become the commonwealth’s 72nd governor.

Two new polls find Cuccinelli cutting into McAuliffe’s once-massive lead, although McAuliffe still holds a comfortable advantage. A Quinnipiac poll released on Monday has McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli by a 46 to 40 percent margin among likely voters, with 8 percent backing Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, and 5 percent undecided.

Similarly, the final poll from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling show McAuliffe with a 50 to 43 percent lead, with 4 percent supporting Sarvis and 3 percent undecided.

Both polls demonstrate that the two major party candidates are quite unpopular among the voting public (an opinion that is shared by local media). The Quinnipiac poll finds that voters view McAuliffe unfavorably by a 45 to 42 percent margin, and view Cuccinelli unfavorably 52 to 38 percent.

The PPP poll shows that just 36 percent of voters view McAuliffe favorably, while 39 percent think the same of Cuccinelli (52 percent view each of the candidates unfavorably). McAuliffe is winning the race to the bottom, however; among the 15 percent of voters who dislike both candidates, McAuliffe is crushing Cuccinelli 61 to 16 percent.

Both polls also suggest that moderates have rejected Cuccinelli’s candidacy. In the PPP poll, McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli among self-described moderates by a 66 to 24 percent margin; he also leads among independents 47 to 39 percent. Quinnipiac has Cuccinelli polling better among independents — in a 40-40 tie with McAuliffe — but not well enough to overcome the Democrat’s 5 percent party identification advantage.

The latest results are in line with Real Clear Politics’ polling average of the race, which shows McAuliffe ahead by 6 percent.

With less than 24 hours to go until the polls open, each candidate is sprinting to the finish line. McAuliffe is set to campaign with Vice President Joe Biden in Northern Virginia, one day after holding a rally with President Barack Obama. Meanwhile, in an effort to turn out his base, Cuccinelli will hold a final rally with two of the Tea Party’s favorite politicians: Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

Photo: Peter Heywood via Flickr

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