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The candidates for governor have earned the low marks they get from voters.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
The headline on Wednesday morning’s polling release succinctly summed up the sorry state of the Virginia governor’s race.
“Virginia Voters Dislike McAuliffe Less Than Cuccinelli, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Libertarian Could Be Key In Tight Race.”
Democrat Terry McAuliffe holds a statistically insignificant edge over Republican Ken Cuccinelli with fewer than seven weeks remaining in a dismal campaign, according to the Quinnipiac poll.
The most telling data points in this survey are the unfavorable ratings that McAuliffe and Cuccinelli have earned during their textbook exercise in turning off voters.
At least McAuliffe can claim to be equally liked and disliked, since a mere 38 percent have a favorable opinion and 38 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Cuccinelli has a 51 percent unfavorable rating and a favorable rating of just 34 percent.
That’s a troubling sign for any candidate and especially one who has held statewide office for four years.
But, despite Cuccinelli’s negatives, McAuliffe’s lead of 44 percent to 41 percent is within the poll’s margin of error. Why? Maybe because, as the poll shows, most voters think both candidates have spent more time attacking each other than explaining what they would do if elected. No wonder Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, running on a shoestring budget, is polling at 7 percent.
Unfortunately, voters’ dissatisfaction with the gubernatorial candidates may be keeping them from taking a close look at the candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general. The candidates in both races offer clear contrasts, but they remain virtually unknown to voters.
The candidates for governor are not running campaigns worthy of the people they want to serve. But voters will be the losers on Election Day if they let their disgust become an excuse for being disengaged. They need to participate, even if they have to hold their noses in the process.
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