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According to a poll, 7 percent of respondents would vote for him in the November election.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
As Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli are locked in a tightening race, the Libertarian nominee for governor has siphoned support of 7 percent of likely Virginia voters.
Neither McAuliffe nor Cuccinelli have high favorability ratings among likely voters, potentially buoying Robert Sarvis, who, despite his support, is still unknown to most voters, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday.
Voters are split on McAuliffe — 38 percent view him favorably and 38 percent unfavorably — and Cuccinelli’s rating is upside down, 51 percent unfavorable and 34 percent favorable.
As for Sarvis, 85 percent of voters said they did not know enough about him to form an opinion, according to the poll.
Overall, McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli 44 percent to 41 percent, including voters who are leaning to one candidate, which is within the poll’s margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Other recent polls had showed McAuliffe leading outside the margin of error.
“Sarvis’ backing is at an unusual and consistent level for a third-party candidate, and the reason is obvious: There’s widespread dissatisfaction with the two major-party nominees,” said Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, pointing to the favorability levels for Cuccinelli and McAuliffe in the survey.
As for whether Sarvis can maintain this level of support, Sabato said it would help him if he were allowed to participate in an upcoming debate.
“Sarvis doesn’t have the money to sustain support on his own. He has raised a pittance compared to the other two, and he’ll be drowned out in the final weeks of the campaign unless he gets lots of free news coverage.”
Sabato said “the one prominent exception to this rule for third-party candidates” was Ross Perot, who ran for president as an independent in 1992. Perot soared in the polls then faded, dropping out of the contest in July before re-entering the race that October.
“When he got back in the race in October ‘92 he was at 4 percent; a month later he had zoomed to 19 percent,” Sabato said. “But he spent about $60 million to get there.”
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