Two new polls have McAuliffe with bigger lead in governor’s race

virginia-blue-oversizeA Roanoke College poll out today has Democrat Terry McAuliffe leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli by six points, and a new Christopher Newport University poll has McAuliffe up by nine points.

These polls come on the heels of a Politico poll released Monday that had McAuliffe leading the attorney general by nine points in a race that had been a toss-up all year.

The Roanoke College poll has McAuliffe at 40 percent, with Cuccinelli at 34 percent and Libertarian Robert Sarvis at 9 percent. The CNU poll has McAuliffe at 47 percent, Cuccinelli at 38 percent and Sarvis at 8 percent.

“Terry McAuliffe may be solidifying his position as the ‘lesser of the evils’ in this election,” said Dr. Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College. “Both candidates are still viewed negatively, but that is more true of Ken Cuccinelli.”

“Cuccinelli continues to be the lightning rod in the race,” Wilson said. “Those who say they will vote for him are really voting for him. While McAuliffe’s numbers are better in this area, his supporters still tend to say they are voting against Cuccinelli. It will be interesting to see how that plays out with regard to voter turnout, which may be the key to this election.”

The CNU poll has Democrat Ralph Northam leading the lieutenant governor’s race in a head-to-head battle wih Republican E.W. Jackson, 48 percent to 37 percent. Roanoke College has Northam with a narrow 39 percent-to-35 percent lead.

A key to Northam’s lead: his strong support in Northern Virginia. Northam gets 55 percent of the vote in NoVa, to 28 percent for Jackson, in the CNU poll.

“The case Ralph Northam has made that E.W. Jackson is a radical social conservative seems to be sticking with voters, especially female voters,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at CNU. “It’s also hard to see how a candidate wins while losing Northern Virginia so overwhelmingly.”

Republican Mark Obenshain leads Democrat Mark Herring in the attorney general’s race in the Roanoke College poll, 38 percent to 35 percent, but Herring leads in the Christopher Newport poll by a 45 p

“The attorney general’s race is wide open, and neither campaign can afford to let up or make any mistakes.” said Kidd. “The Obenshain campaign appears to be avoiding a down-ticket backlash from female voters, but there is still a lot of uncertainty in this contest.”

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