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The poll, which shows results from likely voters, gives McAuliffe the edge by 6 percentage points.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
RICHMOND — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe holds a 6-percentage-point edge over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the first Quinnipiac University poll of the campaign among voters likely to cast ballots in the November election.
McAuliffe holds a 48-42 percent lead in the survey released this morning. The last poll, taken in July, questioned only registered voters in Virginia.
McAuliffe is viewed favorably by 44 percent and unfavorably by 43 percent, but 31 percent of voters had not heard enough about him to say. Cuccinelli, the state's attorney general, is viewed favorably by 35 percent of voters and unfavorably by 41 percent while only 22 percent hadn't heard enough to form an opinion, according to the poll.
"The campaign has been light on issues and big on personalities, and it is in the area of personal characteristics that McAuliffe has a small edge," said said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the university's Polling Institute.
"It seems obvious that Gov. Bob McDonnell's political troubles are hurting fellow Republican Cuccinelli. Guilt by association may not be fair, but it sure is politically powerful. Trust matters and at this point neither man is doing all that well in that category."
On trust, 43 percent said they would not say Cuccinelli is honest and trustworthy while 42 percent said they do and 15 percent didn't know. Thirty-nine percent of voters said they think McAuliffe is honest and trustworthy while 36 percent said no and 25 percent did not know.
The likely voters say 56-52 percent that McAuliffe spends more time attacking Cuccinelli rather than explaining what he would do if elected.
Asked whether the candidate "understands the problems of people like you," which 44 percent of voters say is extremely important, those surveyed said McAuliffe understands 38-42 percent, while voters responded 51-37 percent that Cuccinelli does not understand.
Cuccinelli bests McAuliffe 56-46 percent on who has the right experience to be governor.
"Democrat Terry McAuliffe is up 16 percentage points among voters who say empathy or understanding their problems is extremely important, while Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has a 23-point advantage among those who say the right kind of experience is extremely important," Brown said. "It's a tossup among voters who say honesty is extremely important. Voters care more about empathy than experience which helps explain McAuliffe's lead."
The candidates running for lieutenant governor and attorney general are still unknown to a majority of likely voters.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,129 likely voters Aug. 14-19, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
"Despite the barrage of negative attacks, the race for governor is extremely close and will remain as such," a spokeswoman for Cuccinelli's campaign said. "Going into the fall in an off-year election, when voters focus to a greater degree on the gubernatorial contest, the dishonest comments McAuliffe has perpetuated about his background and business record will be front and center, as will the two federal investigations involving his former car company.
"At the end of the day, Ken Cuccinelli's positive vision and substantive plans for Virginia's future, compared to Terry McAuliffe's flawed record as a failed job creator and political influence peddler, will carry the attorney general to victory."
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