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Poll Shows McAuliffe Leading Among Likely Va. Voters

August 21, 2013

A new poll shows some promising news for Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor's race, as the Democrat has a six-point lead over challenger Ken Cuccinelli.

"This is a very good poll for Terry McAuliffe," said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "This was a more realistic look at the electorate than we've previously gotten in a public poll, and it was a good poll for Terry McAuliffe."

Of more than 1,100 likely voters in the Quinnipiac University poll, 48 percent chose McAuliffe over Cuccinelli, the Republican attorney general. Forty-two percent of respondents chose him.

This poll, compared to others, could be a positive sign for McAuliffe based on who responded.

"This poll showed that the electorate that they surveyed, which is likely voters, is basically whiter and older, and that is generally more conservative, more Republican," Kondik said. "Yet still, McAuliffe had a six-point lead in this poll."

Pollsters expect about 40 percent of registered voters in Virginia to show up on Election Day. In this recent poll, respondents say the quality they most admire in a candidate is trust.

"I think the scandals with the governor have been a problem for Cuccinelli, but I don't think that Cuccinelli's at a point where he's far behind or something like that. I think it remains fairly close," Kondik says.

But Kondik says the race is far from over. With three months left in the campaigns, the political ads are only just beginning, meaning the negativity might not have reached its peak.

"I think we know what the messages are going to be," Kondik said. "They're going to be pretty negative on both sides, particularly with the outside third-party spending."

The remaining 2 percent of respondents said they would vote for "other," which would either be for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis or a write-in vote.

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