September 18, 2013 - Virginia Voters Dislike Mcauliffe Less Than Cuccinelli, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Libertarian Could Be Key In Tight Race
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With 7 percent of likely voters, Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate in the too-close-to call Virginia governor's race, could hold the key to victory for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who has 44 percent of likely voters, or Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who has 41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Democrat McAuliffe gets a split 38 - 38 percent favorability rating, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds, compared to Republican Cuccinelli's negative 34 - 51 percent rating. For Sarvis, 85 percent don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

There are measurable racial and gender gaps in the race for governor as Cuccinelli leads 48 - 38 percent among white voters while blacks go to McAuliffe 77 - 9 percent. Women back the Democrat 49 - 35 percent while men back the Republican 47 - 40 percent.

Only 6 percent of likely voters are undecided seven weeks before Election Day, but 12 percent of those who name a candidate say there is a "good chance" they will change their mind.

"Terry McAuliffe is less disliked than State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Voters are not wild about either man, and that may be one reason why Libertarian Robert Sarvis is running so well," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "History tells us that third-party candidates tend to experience shrinking support as Election Day nears. If Sarvis does get 7 percent of the actual vote, that would reflect not just his strength but the weakness of the major party candidates.

"Right now, we can't tell whether Sarvis' candidacy is hurting Cuccinelli more than McAuliffe," said Brown. "The Libertarian candidate is getting 3 percent of the Republican vote and 2 percent of the Democratic vote, but 14 percent of independent voters."

"Since there are more people in Virginia who now consider themselves Democrats than Republicans, logic says that Cuccinelli needs a solid margin among independent voters. Instead, these voters are divided 37 - 37 percent between the Democrat and Republican," Brown added.

Looking at important qualities in a candidate for governor, Virginia likely voters say:
  • Honesty is extremely important, 59 percent, and very important 35 percent:
  • Understanding problems of "people like you" is extremely important, 36 percent, and very important, 45 percent;
  • Experience is extremely important, 18 percent, and very important, 42 percent.
Voters are divided on McAuliffe's honesty, as 39 percent say he is honest and trustworthy and 42 percent say he isn't.

Cuccinelli is not honest and trustworthy, voters say 49 - 39 percent. But Cuccinelli wins the support of 44 percent of voters who say honesty is extremely important, with 40 percent for McAuliffe.

Voters say 58 - 34 percent that Cuccinelli has the right experience to be governor, compared to 47 - 36 percent for McAuliffe.

Cuccinelli does not understand their problems, voters say 56 - 35 percent, compared to a slightly negative 40 - 44 percent for McAuliffe.

"Honesty remains the most desired quality in a candidate in voters' eyes and McAuliffe has a small edge on Cuccinelli on that issue. The coverage of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's relationship with a large campaign donor certainly isn't helping Cuccinelli to be seen as Mr. Clean," said Brown.

The candidates for lieutenant governor are virtually unknown: 72 percent of likely voters don't know enough about Republican E.W. Jackson to form an opinion, and 87 percent don't know enough about Democrat Ralph Northam. In the attorney general's race, 88 percent don't know enough about Democrat Mark Herring and 79 percent don't know Republican Mark Obenshain.

From September 9 - 15, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,005 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 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, Colorado, Iowa and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, 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, Ken Cuccinelli the Republican, and Robert Sarvis the Libertarian, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward McAuliffe, Cuccinelli, or Sarvis? (Table includes leaners)
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
McAuliffe            44%     5%    91%    37%    40%    49%    38%    77%
Cuccinelli           41     89      3     37     47     35     48      9
Sarvis                7      3      2     14      8      7      9      -
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      1      1      1      -      2
DK/NA                 6      3      3     11      5      7      5     11
 
                     WHITE........................................
                     COLLEGE DEG   RELIGION..........
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   None   Men    Wom
 
McAuliffe            46%    31%    29%    31%    67%    33%    42%
Cuccinelli           42     53     57     52     16     52     43
Sarvis                6     11      9      7     12     10      8
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      1      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 5      5      5     10      6      5      6
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-49  50-64  65+
 
McAuliffe            51%    40%    46%    46%    47%    44%    49%    41%
Cuccinelli           36     45     40     37     42     42     37     45
Sarvis                6      9      7      8      7      7      8      6
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      1      1      -      -      1      1
DK/NA                 7      6      6      8      5      7      5      7
 
                     EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO VOTE Q26, 27, 28
                     Experience    Understanding Honesty
 
McAuliffe            39%           48%           40%
Cuccinelli           48            39            44
Sarvis                7             7            10
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2             -             1
DK/NA                 4             6             6
 
 
1a. (If candidate chosen q1) Will you definitely vote for (Candidate of choice q1), or is there a chance you could change your mind and vote for another of the candidates? IF CHANGE MIND: Would you say there's a good chance you'll change your mind, or would you say it's pretty unlikely? (* Subgroup size less than 75, additional caution should be taken when interpreting findings of this group because of the large margin of error)
                     LIKELY VOTERS............................
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q1......................
                            CANDIDATE OF CHOICE Q1............
                     Tot    McAuliffe     Cuccinelli    Sarvis*
 
Def vote for cand    77%    81%           78%           50%
Unlikely to change    8      8             8             9
Good chance change   12      9            12            38
DK/NA                 2      2             3             3
 
 
1b. (If candidate chosen q1) Would you say you are very enthusiastic about supporting (Candidate chosen), somewhat enthusiastic, not so enthusiastic, or not enthusiastic at all? (* Subgroup size less than 75, additional caution should be taken when interpreting findings of this group because of the large margin of error)
                     LIKELY VOTERS............................
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q1......................
                            CANDIDATE OF CHOICE Q1............
                     Tot    McAuliffe     Cuccinelli    Sarvis*
 
Very enthusiastic    27%    27%           30%           15%
Smwht enthusiastic   49     49            49            50
Not so enthusiastic  13     14            12            14
Not enthus at all    10     10             8            18
DK/NA                 1      -             2             3
 
 
2. Is your opinion of Terry McAuliffe favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            38%    10%    76%    30%    35%    41%    34%    59%
Unfavorable          38     61      9     45     41     36     45     11
Hvn't hrd enough     22     28     14     23     22     22     19     29
REFUSED               2      2      1      2      2      1      2      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Terry McAuliffe favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Favorable            38      34
Unfavorable          38      33
Hvn't hrd enough     22      31
REFUSED               2       1
 
 
3. Is your opinion of Ken Cuccinelli favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            34%    67%     4%    34%    38%    30%    39%    11%
Unfavorable          51     14     86     50     49     53     47     68
Hvn't hrd enough     13     17      9     14     12     15     12     18
REFUSED               1      1      1      2      2      1      1      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Ken Cuccinelli favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Favorable            34      35
Unfavorable          51      41
Hvn't hrd enough     13      22
REFUSED               1       2
 
 
4. Is your opinion of Robert Sarvis favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable             8%     7%     6%    11%     8%     8%     9%     2%
Unfavorable           6      2      8      5      8      4      5      6
Hvn't hrd enough     85     89     86     84     82     88     85     90
REFUSED               1      2      -      -      2      -      1      2
 
 
6. Is your opinion of E.W. Jackson favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            10%    12%     4%    10%    11%     8%    10%     6%
Unfavorable          18      6     32     17     20     16     18     25
Hvn't hrd enough     72     82     63     73     68     76     72     68
REFUSED               -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
 
TREND: Is your opinion of E.W. Jackson favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Favorable            10       8
Unfavorable          18      16
Hvn't hrd enough     72      75
REFUSED               -       1
 
 
7. Is your opinion of Ralph Northam favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable             9%     3%    16%     7%     9%     9%     9%     5%
Unfavorable           4      3      3      5      5      3      4      3
Hvn't hrd enough     87     93     81     88     85     88     86     92
REFUSED               1      1      -      -      1      -      1      -
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Ralph Northam favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Favorable             9       8
Unfavorable           4       4
Hvn't hrd enough     87      87
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
8. Is your opinion of Mark Herring favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable             8%     2%    17%     5%     9%     7%     9%     6%
Unfavorable           4      5      1      4      5      3      4      -
Hvn't hrd enough     88     93     82     91     86     90     87     93
REFUSED               -      -      1      -      -      1      -      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Mark Herring favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Favorable             8       8
Unfavorable           4       3
Hvn't hrd enough     88      88
REFUSED               -       1
 
 
9. Is your opinion of Mark Obenshain favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            12%    14%     7%    14%    12%    11%    13%     8%
Unfavorable           9      3     15      6     11      6      9      6
Hvn't hrd enough     79     81     78     80     76     82     78     85
REFUSED               1      1      1      -      1      1      1      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Mark Obenshain favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Favorable            12      12
Unfavorable           9       6
Hvn't hrd enough     79      82
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
24. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ken Cuccinelli is handling his job as Virginia Attorney General?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              42%    81%     7%    39%    45%    38%    48%    16%
Disapprove           49     10     85     51     48     51     44     72
DK/NA                 9      9      8     10      7     11      8     12
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ken Cuccinelli is handling his job as Virginia Attorney General?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Approve              42      42
Disapprove           49      46
DK/NA                 9      11
 
 
26. (INTRO Q26-28: Thinking about this year's election for governor, for each personal quality I name, please tell me how important it is in your decision of who to support in the election for governor.) How about the candidate's - experience, would you say this is extremely important in your choice for governor, very important, somewhat important, not so important or not important at all?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Extremely important  18%    19%    20%    16%    18%    18%    15%    30%
Very important       42     53     40     39     40     45     44     38
Somewhat important   33     23     33     37     33     34     34     30
Not so important      4      4      4      6      6      3      5      1
Not important at all  2      2      3      1      3      2      2      1
DK/NA                 -      -      -      1      1      -      -      -
 
TREND: (INTRO: Thinking about this year's election for governor, for each personal quality I name, please tell me how important it is in your decision of who to support in the election for governor.) How about the candidate's experience, would you say this is extremely important in your choice for governor, very important, somewhat important, not so important or not important at all?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Extremely important  18      19
Very important       42      42
Somewhat important   33      32
Not so important      4       4
Not important at all  2       2
DK/NA                 -       -
 
 
27. How about the candidate's - understanding of the problems of people like you, would you say this is extremely important in your choice for governor, very important, somewhat important, not so important or not important at all?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Extremely important  36%    34%    37%    37%    32%    39%    34%    52%
Very important       45     44     44     44     43     46     43     44
Somewhat important   17     21     15     16     22     12     20      4
Not so important      1      1      2      1      1      2      2      -
Not important at all  1      -      1      1      1      1      1      -
DK/NA                 -      -      -      1      -      -      -      -
 
TREND: How about the candidate's understanding of the problems of people like you, would you say this is extremely important in your choice for governor, very important, somewhat important, not so important or not important at all?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Extremely important  36      44
Very important       45      38
Somewhat important   17      16
Not so important      1       2
Not important at all  1       1
DK/NA                 -       1
 
 
28. How about the candidate's - honesty and trustworthiness, would you say this is extremely important in your choice for governor, very important, somewhat important, not so important or not important at all?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Extremely important  59%    67%    55%    58%    57%    63%    60%    60%
Very important       35     30     37     35     37     33     34     31
Somewhat important    5      3      7      5      6      4      4      8
Not so important      -      -      1      -      1      -      -      -
Not important at all  -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 -      -      -      1      -      1      1      -
 
TREND: How about the candidate's honesty and trustworthiness, would you say this is extremely important in your choice for governor, very important, somewhat important, not so important or not important at all?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Extremely important  59      58
Very important       35      35
Somewhat important    5       6
Not so important      -       -
Not important at all  -       1
DK/NA                 -       -
 
 
29. (INTRO Q29-34: Now, I'd like to ask whether you think each of these qualities describes each candidate in the election for governor.) Do you think Ken Cuccinelli - has the right kind of experience to be Governor of Virginia or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  58%    82%    35%    58%    61%    55%    63%    35%
No                   34      7     59     35     33     35     28     58
DK/NA                 8     11      6      7      6     10      9      7
 
TREND: (INTRO: Now, I'd like to ask whether you think each of these qualities describes each candidate in the election for governor.) Do you think Ken Cuccinelli has the right kind of experience to be Governor of Virginia or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Yes                  58      56
No                   34      31
DK/NA                 8      13
 
 
30. Would you say that Ken Cuccinelli - understands the problems of people like you or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  35%    66%    10%    32%    38%    31%    40%    15%
No                   56     19     84     62     53     58     49     77
DK/NA                10     15      6      7      9     11     11      8
 
TREND: Would you say that Ken Cuccinelli understands the problems of people like you or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Yes                  35      37
No                   56      51
DK/NA                10      11
 
 
31. Would you say that Ken Cuccinelli - is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  39%    72%    12%    37%    44%    33%    44%    13%
No                   49     17     76     52     47     52     44     69
DK/NA                12     12     11     11      9     15     11     18
 
TREND: Would you say that Ken Cuccinelli is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Yes                  39      42
No                   49      43
DK/NA                12      15
 
 
32. Do you think Terry McAuliffe - has the right kind of experience to be Governor of Virginia or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  47%    26%    72%    44%    46%    47%    43%    60%
No                   36     51     16     40     38     34     39     18
DK/NA                17     23     12     16     16     18     18     23
 
TREND: Do you think Terry McAuliffe has the right kind of experience to be Governor of Virginia or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Yes                  47      46
No                   36      34
DK/NA                17      21
 
 
33. Would you say that Terry McAuliffe - understands the problems of people like you or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  40%    17%    72%    33%    37%    42%    37%    58%
No                   44     57     17     54     49     39     46     23
DK/NA                16     25     11     13     14     19     17     19
 
TREND: Would you say that Terry McAuliffe understands the problems of people like you or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Yes                  40      38
No                   44      42
DK/NA                16      20
 
 
34. Would you say that Terry McAuliffe - is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  39%    15%    70%    33%    37%    41%    35%    56%
No                   42     58     17     49     47     38     45     21
DK/NA                19     27     13     18     17     22     20     22
 
TREND: Would you say that Terry McAuliffe is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Yes                  39      39
No                   42      36
DK/NA                19      25
 
36. What do you think Ken Cuccinelli is spending more time doing in his campaign explaining what he would do if elected Governor or attacking Terry McAuliffe?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Explaining           24%    32%    14%    25%    25%    24%    24%    24%
Attacking            60     48     73     62     62     57     61     61
DK/NA                16     20     13     13     13     19     16     15
 
TREND: What do you think Ken Cuccinelli is spending more time doing in his campaign, explaining what he would do if elected Governor or attacking Terry McAuliffe?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Explaining           24      32
Attacking            60      52
DK/NA                16      16
 
 
37. What do you think Terry McAuliffe is spending more time doing in his campaign explaining what he would do if elected Governor or attacking Ken Cuccinelli?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.......................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Explaining           19%     8%    33%    16%    17%    20%    15%    37%
Attacking            68     75     55     73     70     66     72     52
DK/NA                13     16     12     11     13     14     13     11
 
TREND: What do you think Terry McAuliffe is spending more time doing in his campaign, explaining what he would do if elected Governor or attacking Ken Cuccinelli?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Sep 18  Aug 21
                     2013    2013
 
Explaining           19      25
Attacking            68      56
DK/NA                13      19
 
 

Demographic Summary