Poll: Ken Cuccinelli with small lead in governor’s race

cuccinelli-header2Republican Ken Cuccinelli has a small lead over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the first polling in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race done since Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling confirmed that he will not run as an independent.

Cuccinelli is at 40 percent to 38 percent for McAuliffe in the poll, though significantly neither candidate is well-known by Virginia voters, according to the poll’s findings.

“Because of their relatively low profiles at this point, the horse race numbers pretty much reflect a generic Democratic-Republican race,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Cuccinelli gets a 30 percent-24 percent favorability rating, with 44 percent who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.  McAuliffe has a 20 percent-16 percent favorability, with 63 percent who don’t know enough about him.

Cuccinelli’s political philosophy is “about right,” 32 percent of Virginia voters say, while 29 percent say he is too conservative and 5 percent say he is too liberal, while 33 percent of voters do not have an opinion.

McAuliffe’s philosophy is “about right,” 29 percent of voters say, while 21 percent say he is too liberal and 4 percent say he is too conservative, while 45 percent of voters do not have an opinion.

“At this point in the race, the number of voters who see Cuccinelli as ‘too conservative’ is higher than the number who sees McAuliffe as ‘too liberal.’ But the general public does not see the GOP candidate as a far right kind of guy as some both inside and outside the Republican Party have suggested. It would not be surprising to see McAuliffe try to pin the ideologue label on Cuccinelli but as of now the label does not stick,” said Brown.

Gov. Bob McDonnell gets a static 53-26 percent job approval rating, compared to his  53-28 percent in Quinnipiac University’s February 20 survey.  The General Assembly has a split 40-40 percent job approval, compared to a negative 38-46 percent rating last month.

“While the governor is treading water, the legislature seems to have benefitted from the recently concluded legislative session in the eyes of the public,” said Brown.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner gets a 56-26 percent approval rating, with 47-33 percent for first-term Sen. Tim Kaine.

Voters approve 45-27 percent of the job Cuccinelli is doing and give Lt. Gov. Bolling a 37-15 percent score.

From March 20 – 25, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,098 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.  Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.

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