Democrat Terry McAuliffe
Republican Ken Cuccinelli
Libertarian Robert Sarvis
Two new polls came out Thursday on the Virginia governor’s race, both showing Democrat Terry McAuliffe opening up a lead of 7-10 percentage points over Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Interestingly, both also showed Libertarian Robert Sarvis polling at or near double digits.
Now, whether you believe either of these polls may depend on your political persuasion.
One is by Public Policy Polling, which is affiliated with “progressive,” i.e., liberal, causes. That doesn’t necessarily make its results wrong, but one should always be wary of who’s polling for whom. Personally, I’d much rather trust a poll by a non-partisan group than a partisan one.
Speaking of a non-partisan group, the other poll is by the Emerson College Polling Society and I’ll confess I’ve never heard of the society or Emerson College (which, it turns out, is located in Boston.) This a student-run outfit. Whether run by students or whomever, I’m also generally skeptical of polling organizations that I don’t have a track record in Virginia for. Again, this could be absolutely accurate, but, well, we just don’t know, do we?
On the other hand, these polls are generally in line with the Qunnipiac poll earlier this month, which showed McAuliffe up by six points — but out of line with the Roanoke College Poll in July which put Cuccinelli up by six points. We discussed those polls here.
As for the latest polls, if you still want the results after all those caveats (which I’d give no matter who they showed in the lead), here they are:
The PPP poll:
* McAuliffe 44%
* Cuccinelli 37%
* Sarvis 9%
Of note: This poll showed both candidates have higher unfavorable ratings than favorable ratings, but Cuccinelli’s unfavorables (54%) were highest of all. You can see the PPP results here.
The Emerson College Polling Society poll:
* McAuliffe 45%
* Cuccinelli 35%
* Sarvis 10%
Likewise, this poll’s findings matched the PPP result, both people thinking pretty unfavorably about both candidates, but with Cuccinelli drawing the highest negatives, at 53%. You can find the Emerson College results here.
You can find other polls in the Virginia race here.
Here are some questions I’d throw out for your consideration:
* Do you believe these polls? If so, why do you think they’re showing McAuliffe with this kind of lead? If not, why are so many polls showing pretty much the same result? (Roanoke College appears the only outlier.)
* Do you think Sarvis will see support continue to grow or will enthusiasm for him fade as we get closer to the election?
* If you don’t want to believe in polls, fine, let’s set them aside and consider something else. Earlier this week, the Virginia Association of Realtors political arm endorsed not just McAuliffe, but the entire Democratic ticket — Ralph Northam for lieutenant governor and Mark Herring for attorney general. Realtors, it’s safe to say, are not generally considered in the pocket of Democrats. In fact, the group endorsed Republican Bob McDonnell four years ago and Republican Jerry Kilgore in 2005 — although the Realtors did back Democrat Mark Warner in 2001. Is the Realtor endorsement of McAuliffe a sign? If so, why so? If not, why not?