Poll: McAuliffe holds narrow lead in governor’s race
McAuliffe leads by a 41 percent-37 percent margin. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, included in the polling for the first time, registered 7 percent support in the poll.
Despite the lead for McAuliffe, the Democrat isn’t well-regarded by Virginia voters, with just 34 percent of voters holding a favorable opinion of McAuliffe, and 36 percent holding a negative view. This underwater mark is markedly better than the numbers for Cuccinelli, who is viewed favorably by 32 percent and negatively by 47 percent.
Inside the numbers:
The two candidates are tied with men, but McAuliffe leads based on his seven-point advantage with women. Cuccinelli’s 75 percent of Republicans is slightly more than McAuliffe’s 73 percent of Democrats, but McAuliffe makes up for that with a seven-point lead among independents at 40/33. McAuliffe leads with every age group except for seniors, where Cuccinelli has a seven-point advantage that’s helping him to keep the race competitive overall.
Democrats lead the down ballot races in the state as well. The widest margin is in the lieutenant governor contest,where Ralph Northam has a seven-point lead over E.W. Jackson at 42/35. Jackson has higher name recognition than Northam, but that’s not a good thing because 15 percent of voters have a positive opinion of him compared to 28 percent with a negative one. Twenty-five percent of Republicans are undecided in the race, compared to only 14 percent of Democrats, suggesting a lot of GOP voters have some doubts about their party nominee.
The closest statewide race is the one for attorney general, where Mark Herring leads Mark Obenshain 38-36, but there is still a substantial percentage of voters – 25 percent – undecided. Neither candidate in that race has made much of an impact on the public yet. Obenshain’s name recognition is just 33 percent and Herring’s is 28 percent, with voters closely divided in their opinions about both of them.