Terry McAuliffe is running ahead of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli among likely voters in the November election for Virginia’s next governor, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, leads by 48 to 42 percent over the GOP’s Cuccinelli. Quinnipiac said its poll is the first to survey likely voters.
“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 Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University 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.”
The poll found 44 percent of voters feel McAuliffe does not understand their problems, compared to 51 percent who feel the same way about Cuccinelli.
“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,” Brown said.
Voters have a 41 – 35 percent unfavorable view of Cuccinelli and disapprove slightly, 46 – 42 percent, of his performance as attorney general. They have a split 34 – 33 percent favorable/ unfavorable opinion of McAuliffe.
From August 14 – 19, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,129 likely voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.