Hampton University has entered the polling game with a look at the statewide races. Their findings? Terry McAuliffe leads Ken Cuccinelli by five points, 42 to 37 percent, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis at eight percent.
But more interesting are the downticket races, where E.W. Jackson, all but written off by Virginia’s press, is in a statistical tie with Democrat Ralph Northam. And more surprising? Jackson is on the plus side of the 2.9 percent margin of error.
Republican Mark Obenshain leads Democrat Mark Herring by four points. But as is typical with the down ballot contests, name recognition is low, and undecided voters are legion.
The full poll results can be read here.
The pollsters assume the November electorate will be slightly more Democratic — 35D/33/R/33I — than it has usually been in Virginia’s off-year elections. This poll, unsurprisingly, sees independents as the key to victory.
But also of note is that they find the Libertarian candidate pulls evenly from Democrats and Republicans and holds the balance among independents. Ken Cuccinelli’s greatest weakness — outside of the gender gap? It’s among Republicans. In this poll, Cuccinelli is winning 78 percent of the GOP vote, while McAuliffe picks up nine percent and Sarvis five percent. Conversely, McAuliffe pulls in 83 percent of Democrats, while Cuccinelli gets four and Sarvis five percent.
At this stage of the race, one would expect the major party candidates to have in excess of 90 percent of the partisan base locked-in. Not so this year.
If this continues, election night may be very interesting.
And one more item in the poll? Eighty percent of the respondents want term limits for the General Assembly. Two terms, and then out.
I can live with that…