Poll: McAuliffe’s strong lead in Virginia gubernatorial race disappearing

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
Font Size:

With less than a week to go before the Virginia gubernatorial race, a new poll indicates that Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s commanding lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli is disappearing.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows that McAuliffe is only leading by four points now, garnering 45 percent to Cuccinelli’s 41 percent of likely voters. The poll shows Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis getting 9 percent.

Just last week, a Rasmussen poll showed McAuliffe with a 17-point lead over Cuccinelli.

As for Wednesday’s Quinnipiac poll, the outfit stated that the race would be even closer if Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate, was not included. “Today’s survey shows that if Sarvis were not in the race, McAuliffe would have 47 percent to 45 percent for Cuccinelli, too close to call.”

“With the race this close, the final decision by the roughly one in 10 voters who are supporting Libertarian Robert Sarvis has become even more critical,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said.

That figure is important, Brown argued.

“Nationally, third-party candidates often lose support in the end as voters enter the voting booth and back someone they consider the lesser of two evils,” he said. “Only six in 10 Sarvis supporters say they definitely will vote for him. Almost nine in 10 McAuliffe and Cuccinelli backers are committed.”

The numbers come as Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general, has been arguing that the race with McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, should be a referendum on Obamacare.

Follow Alex on Twitter