Poll: Mark Herring, Ken Cuccinelli early favorites in 2017 Virginia governor race

state-capitol2Attorney General Mark Herring and former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are the early favorites among their respective party bases looking ahead to the 2017 Virginia governor race.

This from polling released Friday by Public Policy Polling, which also has Herring, a Democrat, and Cuccinelli, a Republican, in a dead heat in a hypothetical 2017 general-election matchup.

But first to the party nomination races. Neither Herring nor Ralph Northam, the sitting lieutenant governor, are particularly well-known among Democratic Party voters. Herring has name recognition with 48 percent of Democratic voters, with Northam at 37 percent.

Herring leads Northam 33 percent to 9 percent in the early rendering of a possible two-way race for the Democratic Party nomination in 2017, with 58 percent undecided, suggesting plenty of room for movement between the two, and possible challenges from additional candidates.

On the GOP side, Cuccinelli, the failed 2013 Republican gubernatorial nominee, gets the support of 37 percent of Republicans in Virginia looking ahead to 2017. Former Congressman Eric Cantor is at 16 percent, with former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and 2014 Republican Senate nominee Ed Gillespie at 8 percent each, and failed 2013 attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain at 7 percent.

Cuccinelli’s big lead is based on name recognition and a huge net favorable rating from GOP voters. Cuccinelli has 72 percent name recognition with Virginia Republican voters, and a +32 net favorability rating (52 percent favorable/20 percent unfavorable).

Cantor, the former House Majority Whip, has 62 percent name recognition, but his net favorability is zero (31 percent favorable/31 percent unfavorable).

Looking, then, at the general election in 2017, the two favorites, Herring and Cuccinelli, start out in a dead heat, with each at 38 percent, with lots of wiggle room – 24 percent undecided.

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