January 9, 2013 - Cuccinelli, McAuliffe Tied As Virginia Gov Race Begins, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; State Leaders, Legislators Get Positive Grades

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Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are in a dead heat in their race to be Virginia's next governor, even if Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling runs as an independent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, gets 40 percent to 39 percent for Cuccinelli, with one in five voters saying they are undecided. That compares to McAuliffe's 41 - 37 percent margin in a November 14 matchup by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll.

If Republican Bolling were to run as an independent, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli would get 34 percent each and Bolling would garner 13 percent. The three-way choice was not offered in November.

None of the three candidates is well-known to Virginia registered voters. Cuccinelli is the best known of the lot with 33 percent holding a favorable opinion, to 25 percent unfavorable and 41 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion. For Bolling, who has held statewide office for seven years, 72 percent don't know enough to form an opinion. For McAuliffe, who ran for governor four years ago, 61 percent haven't formed an opinion.

"While all three candidates for governor have run statewide previously, voter memories are short and they are little-known to Virginia voters," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "It goes without saying that with this relatively low level of voter recognition it will be some time before the shape of the race becomes clear. What is clear is that as an independent Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling faces a pretty stiff uphill climb should he decide to run as an independent."

"Logic tells us that if Bolling should run for governor as an independent, he would likely take more votes from fellow Republican Cuccinelli than from Democrat McAuliffe, but at this point the data indicates he would take equally from both major party candidates," Brown added.

In a head to head match between Cuccinelli and McAuliffe voters so far break predictably. The Republican has a 47 - 35 percent lead among men, while the Democrat holds a 45 - 32 percent margin among women. Cuccinelli carries Republicans 85 - 3 percent and independent voters 38 - 29 percent, while McAuliffe wins Democrats 85 - 3 percent. Cuccinelli carries white voters 49 - 31 percent, while McAuliffe wins blacks 72 - 6 percent.

"With these relatively low levels of familiarity, the candidate who is best able to define himself and his opponent or opponents negatively is likely to become the Old Dominion's next governor. That would make it likely that Virginia television viewers in the coming months will see a heavy dose of negative television ads from the campaigns," said Brown.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gets good grades. He has a healthy 45 - 23 percent favorable/unfavorable rating and a 54 - 27 percent job approval rating, an impressive 2-1 ratio.

Cuccinelli gets a 48 - 27 percent approval rating for his job performance as attorney general, compared to Bolling's 40 - 16 percent rating for his work as lieutenant governor.

The state's U.S. senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, also score well. Warner, who has for some time gotten the highest performance scores of any Virginia politician, remains high with a 59 - 27 percent job approval rating. Kaine, just sworn in this month, has a 48 - 30 percent rating.

Even the State Legislature gets a positive job rating from Virginia voters, 43 - 39 percent.

From January 4 - 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,134 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information or RSS feed, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

1. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Terry McAuliffe the Democrat and Ken Cuccinelli the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
McAuliffe            40%     3%    85%    29%    35%    45%    31%    72%
Cuccinelli           39     85      3     38     47     32     49      6
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      1      1      4      3      1      2      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      -      1      1      1      2      -
DK/NA                18     11     11     28     14     21     16     22
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
McAuliffe            43%    25%    23%    22%    27%    35%    11%    33%
Cuccinelli           42     53     57     55     56     42     67     48
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       3      2      2      3      4      1      2      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      1      2      1      2      1      2
DK/NA                12     18     17     18     11     20     18     16
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
McAuliffe            46%    37%    45%    38%    36%    44%    37%    41%    40%
Cuccinelli           35     42     31     44     45     28     42     41     41
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      2      2      1      2      2      3      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      2      1      1      2      1      1      1
DK/NA                16     19     19     16     16     23     17     15     18
 
TREND: If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Terry McAuliffe the Democrat and Ken Cuccinelli the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Jan 09  Nov 14
                     2013    2012
 
McAuliffe            40      41
Cuccinelli           39      37
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1
DK/NA                18      21
 
 
2. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Terry McAuliffe the Democrat, Ken Cuccinelli the Republican, and Bill Bolling running as an independent, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
McAuliffe            34%     2%    77%    22%    30%    38%    26%    66%
Cuccinelli           34     76      4     31     41     27     41      7
Bolling              13     10      9     19     14     12     14     11
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      1      -      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      1      1      1      1      1      -
DK/NA                18     13      9     26     13     22     18     16
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
McAuliffe            35%    21%    20%    18%    23%    29%    10%    26%
Cuccinelli           35     44     49     47     47     35     56     40
Bolling              15     13     11     15     16     12     12     14
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      -      1      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      2      1      4      2      1      1      2
DK/NA                14     20     19     15     12     23     21     17
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
McAuliffe            39%    32%    39%    32%    32%    39%    29%    35%    36%
Cuccinelli           31     36     26     40     40     26     36     36     32
Bolling              12     13     13     14     11     14     16     10     13
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      2      -      -      2      1      -      1
DK/NA                17     18     19     14     17     18     18     17     18
 
 
3. Is your opinion of Terry McAuliffe favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            23%     5%    42%    20%    23%    22%    19%    38%
Unfavorable          16     28      5     16     22     11     19      1
Hvn't hrd enough     61     67     53     63     54     66     61     61
REFUSED               1      -      -      1      1      1      1      -
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Terry McAuliffe favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Jan 09  Nov 14
                     2013    2012
 
Favorable            23      17
Unfavorable          16      13
Hvn't hrd enough     61      68
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
4. Is your opinion of Ken Cuccinelli favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            33%    64%     8%    33%    40%    26%    38%    12%
Unfavorable          25      5     40     27     26     24     24     26
Hvn't hrd enough     41     31     49     39     32     48     36     56
REFUSED               2      -      3      1      2      2      2      5
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Ken Cuccinelli favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Jan 09  Nov 14
                     2013    2012
 
Favorable            33      29
Unfavorable          25      24
Hvn't hrd enough     41      45
REFUSED               2       2
 
 
5. Is your opinion of Bill Bolling favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            18%    21%    10%    23%    22%    14%    21%     8%
Unfavorable           9      6     10      9     10      8      7     12
Hvn't hrd enough     72     72     77     67     66     78     71     78
REFUSED               1      -      2      1      2      1      1      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Bill Bolling favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Jan 09  Nov 14
                     2013    2012
 
Favorable            18      20
Unfavorable           9       8
Hvn't hrd enough     72      70
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
6. Is your opinion of Bob McDonnell favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            45%    70%    25%    45%    51%    39%    50%    21%
Unfavorable          23      7     38     23     22     25     22     30
Hvn't hrd enough     30     23     34     29     25     34     26     46
REFUSED               2      1      3      2      3      2      2      4
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Bob McDonnell favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Jan 09  Nov 15  Jun 07
                     2013    2012    2012
 
Favorable            45      42      39
Unfavorable          23      22      25
Hvn't hrd enough     30      34      35
REFUSED               2       2       2
 
 
7. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob McDonnell is handling his job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              54%    76%    36%    58%    58%    50%    59%    33%
Disapprove           27     11     40     26     28     26     24     37
DK/NA                19     14     24     15     14     24     17     30
 
                                   East/  West/  AREA...............
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shndh  Urban  Suburb Rural
 
Approve              54%    51%    53%    57%    54%    54%    53%
Disapprove           28     29     28     21     26     29     26
DK/NA                18     20     19     22     20     18     21
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob McDonnell is handling his job as Governor? (*Low also 53% Mar 2012, Jun 2012)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 09  Nov 15  Jul 18  Jun 06  Mar 21  Oct 12  Nov 15
                     2013    2012    2012    2012    2012    2011    2012*
 
Approve              54      53      55      53      53      62      53
Disapprove           27      26      29      30      32      22      26
DK/NA                19      20      17      17      14      16      20
 
 
8. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              43%    58%    31%    43%    47%    39%    43%    39%
Disapprove           39     25     48     42     38     39     39     39
DK/NA                19     17     21     15     15     22     17     22
 
                                   East/  West/  AREA...............
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shndh  Urban  Suburb Rural
 
Approve              46%    44%    40%    41%    44%    42%    43%
Disapprove           36     39     42     38     42     35     42
DK/NA                18     17     18     22     14     24     15
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job? (*High also 48% Jun 2011)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 09  Nov 15  Jul 18  Jun 06  Mar 21  Sep 14  Mar 21
                     2013    2012    2012    2012    2012    2011*   2012
 
Approve              43      44      41      41      38      48      38
Disapprove           39      35      41      44      47      34      47
DK/NA                19      21      18      16      15      18      15
 
 
9. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mark Warner is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              59%    44%    77%    58%    59%    59%    56%    72%
Disapprove           27     40      9     31     31     24     31     13
DK/NA                13     16     14     11     10     17     13     15
 
                                   East/  West/  AREA...............
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shndh  Urban  Suburb Rural
 
Approve              65%    61%    57%    51%    61%    63%    53%
Disapprove           21     25     30     35     26     23     34
DK/NA                14     14     13     14     14     14     12
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mark Warner is handling his job as United States Senator? (*High also 64% Sep 2011, **Low also 57% Jun 2011)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 09  Nov 14  Jul 18  Jun 06  Mar 21  Feb 09  Jul 18
                     2013    2012    2012    2012    2012    2012*   2012**
 
Approve              59      60      57      60      62      64      57
Disapprove           27      25      24      21      23      22      24
DK/NA                13      16      19      19      16      14      19
 
 
10. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Tim Kaine is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              48%    24%    79%    40%    44%    52%    39%    77%
Disapprove           30     51      6     36     36     25     36      9
DK/NA                22     25     15     23     20     24     25     14
 
                                   East/  West/  AREA...............
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shndh  Urban  Suburb Rural
 
Approve              52%    57%    45%    37%    56%    49%    42%
Disapprove           24     22     35     37     26     27     37
DK/NA                24     20     20     26     18     24     21
 
 
12. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Bolling is handling his job as Lieutenant Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              40%    49%    36%    40%    44%    36%    40%    40%
Disapprove           16     13     19     16     18     15     16     21
DK/NA                44     38     45     44     37     50     44     39
 
                                   East/  West/  AREA...............
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shndh  Urban  Suburb Rural
 
Approve              34%    46%    43%    35%    45%    39%    36%
Disapprove           17     10     18     19     16     14     21
DK/NA                49     44     39     46     39     47     43
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Bolling is handling his job as Lieutenant Governor? (*Low also 35% Oct 2011)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 09  Nov 14  Jul 18  Jun 06  Mar 21  Jan 09  Dec 22
                     2013    2012    2012    2012    2012    2013    2011*
                                                                     
Approve              40      38      36      36      36      40      35
Disapprove           16      15      19      21      21      16      18
DK/NA                44      47      45      44      43      44      46
 
 
13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ken Cuccinelli is handling his job as Virginia Attorney General?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              48%    77%    26%    45%    55%    41%    51%    36%
Disapprove           27      7     43     33     28     26     26     34
DK/NA                25     16     32     22     17     32     23     30
 
                                   East/  West/  AREA...............
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shndh  Urban  Suburb Rural
 
Approve              41%    48%    51%    52%    52%    44%    50%
Disapprove           32     25     28     20     26     29     26
DK/NA                27     26     21     28     23     26     24
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ken Cuccinelli is handling his job as Virginia Attorney General?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 09  Nov 14  Jul 18  Jun 06  Mar 21  Jun 29  Nov 14
                     2013    2012    2012    2012    2012    2011    2012
 
Approve              48      43      44      46      45      49      43
Disapprove           27      29      31      29      32      31      29
DK/NA                25      28      25      25      23      20      28
 

Demographic Summary