WaPo poll: McAuliffe +12, Northam +13, Herring +3Politics

The Washington Post’s most recent poll of the Virginia governor’s race shows Terry McAuliffe ahead of Ken Cuccinelli 51-39, with Robert Sarvis puling eight percent.

The full poll results can be viewed here, where we find yet another indication that Sarvis is not the GOP spoiler some insist he is:

Sarvis question

Yes folks, take Sarvis out of the equation and McAuliffe still wins this race.

And to pick on the theme Scott Lee and I explored on the radio show last weekend, McAuliffe’s supporters really do dislike Ken Cuccinelli. Only 34 percent of McAuliffe’s supporters are voting for him. Fully 64 percent of McAuliffe’s backers are voting against Ken Cuccinelli. Conversely, 50 percent of Cuccinelli’s backers are voting for him, while 44 percent say they are voting against McAuliffe.

To say that McAuliffe’s millions in attack ads have been successful is an understatement. They have brought out the hate against Ken Cuccinelli. But these same numbers show that McAuliffe has done little to generate support for himself. That could be his eventual undoing.

The poll also shows Democrat Ralph Northam with a double-digit lead over E.W. Jackson — 52-39 and Democrat Mark Herring with a 49-46 lead over Mark Obenshain — within the poll’s 4.5 point margin of error.

Lots to chew on in these numbers…

  • Tommy Valentine

    Yes, lots to chew on, including the +8 Dem sample.

    • NormLeahy

      Exactly. Polls are consistently showing a more Democratic electorate than has historically been the case in off-year elections. Why? If the voter pool actually looks like this on election day, it will be an enormous shift for Virginia, and be one of the biggest stories of the election.

      However, it should be noted, again, that our own poll in September, which showed a +5 GOP turnout, had the race at a dead heat. That was not good news for KC’s campaign.

      • Tommy Valentine

        So the polls are making a prediction that probably won’t come true given the historical trend.

        And even if it wasn’t good news for Cuccinelli, it also detracts from BD’s narrative that the race is over and has been over.

        • Markos_Anderson

          Democrats are more enthused to vote than the GOP.

          Being bombarded 2-to-1 in TV advertising is depressing Republicans.

          • Tommy Valentine

            Did you not read the post?

            “Only 34 percent of McAuliffe’s supporters are voting for him. Fully 64 percent of McAuliffe’s backers are voting against Ken Cuccinelli. Conversely, 50 percent of Cuccinelli’s backers are voting for him, while 44 percent say they are voting against McAuliffe.”

          • Markos_Anderson

            Yes, and what is driving that?

            T-Mac constant TV ads which are depicting Cuccinelli as the devil.

          • Tommy Valentine

            Yes, but people need someone to vote *for* – look at Romney 2012. They are not going to turn out in big numbers.

    • mattattack911

      During the 2012 election, Romney’s campaign thought that the polls were oversampling Democrats whereas in reality, the voters were self-identifying that way because their plan was to vote for Obama. Do we know if the polls are doing the same thing here? Because if they are consciously saying “let’s get this many Democrats in this poll” then I agree that the numbers might be skewed/Cuccinelli might surprise. I wonder, though, if this is wishful thinking and that the polls have a Democratic bias because people are supporting McAuliffe and thus identifying themselves as Democrats to the pollsters.

      • Tommy Valentine

        An off year state election is much different than a presidential election. 2009 electorate identified as GOP +4 but voted for McDonnell +13. 2012 identified as Dem +7 but voted for Obama +4. Party ID in polling and actual voting are not the same thing. The idea that Dems are going to turn out in these numbers is simply absurd.

        • mattattack911

          Gotcha, those are solid stats, thanks. Guess we’ll see what happens pretty soon now!

  • Alexis Rose Bank

    I got a 3rd party – erm, 4th party – robocall today from the NRA, asking me to vote for Obenshain (which I will).

    Zero mention of Cuccinelli or Jackson.

    Seems to me that the people in the know know this race is over. Only thing left to decide is if the Libertarian Party gets an automatic ballot line in the future.

  • Rick_Sincere

    The one bright note that can be drawn from this is that, if there is a Democratic sweep, Republicans have a chance to pick up two seats in the state Senate. Should that happen, a Governor McAuliffe would face GOP majorities in both houses of the General Assembly, and Ralph Northam would be unlikely to ever break an important tie as president of the Senate.

    • David Eggleston

      The flip side of that is, coming off the shutdown and a crushing defeat, would the GOP have any momentum left to win those seats?

    • Wally Erb

      Yes, but what good is a tie breaker with an executive veto?

  • DJRippert

    “That could be his eventual undoing.”. Really? After he’s elected? Let’s be honest, a one term governor can’t really do much – especially now that McDonnell has added money for transportation. What did Kaine ever do? Ban smoking in restaurants? If McAuliffe is smart he’ll burnish his progressive bona fides by trying to get some small gun control legislation passed – maybe closing the so-called gun show loophole. Maybe he’ll implement a requirement for ROIs on road projects. He’ll avoid mistakes and he’ll start thinking about what’s next. If he’s lucky the economy will continue its slow improvement and he’ll leave office with everybody saying how well things went during his tenure.

    • midwestconservative

      Passing any gun law would be stupid, ask John Morse over at Colorado.

      • DJRippert

        The governor in Virginia can’t run for a second consecutive term. There is no provision for recall elections in Virginia. Virginia isn’t Colorado. It’s important to understand just how bizarre things are in Virginia. Virginia is the only state where a first term governor can’t stand for re-election. It’s 49 – 1 on that matter. Unless being governor of Virginia is your final goal as a politician (think Jerry Baliles) then you start running for the next office almost as soon as you become governor.

        Nothing will happen to Terry McAuliffe if he pushes lightweight gun control measures. Well, that’s not really true. His stock in national Democratic Party circles will rise.

        Speaking of Colorado – this was on the ballot in 2000, “Requires background checks if any part of a gun purchase takes place at a gun show with the exception of antique guns, curios and relics; requires a designated licensed gun dealer to obtain background checks, and to keep records of purchases as he or she would when selling, renting, or exchanging at retail; defines a gun show as any event or function where 25 or more guns are offered or exhibited for sale, transfer, or exchange, or at least three gun owners exhibit, sell, offer for sale, transfer, or exchange guns; and creates misdemeanor penalties punishable by jail, fines, or both.”.

        It passed, 70% to 30%.

        Could something like that pass in Virginia? Sure.

        • midwestconservative

          There are Senate Elections in 2011, and while Passing a Gun Law might not hurt T-Mac personally ( and that might be all that matters to him) it would hurt any future Dem candidate for Governor and the DPV overall.
          And the “gun show loophole” is already well covered with the exception of private sales.

          • DJRippert

            We nay just have to agree to disagree. I don’t think a Colorado-like law requiring background checks at gun shows where 25 or more guns are offered for sale would do any harm to the DPVA. I’d guess it would have about the same level of support it got in Colorado: 70 / 30.

            Now, if you “go all Maryland” on this, that’s different. Banning so-called assault weapons, fingerprinting handgun purchasers, etc – that would be a problem for whoever suggests it.

          • midwestconservative

            When was this law passed?
            Also it depends on the expansion of the background checks, if Terry suggests Toomey-Manchin, well it would be like a shot to the arm to the RPV. Probably wouldn’t hurt Terry since he can run for reelection but 2015 would be a bad year for Dems if Terry forces them to do anything more then what you suggested, and even then, it would/could be bad.
            And lets look a little closer to the very blue New York. Before Cuomo had his little rant he had a 74% approval rating, then he went and passed a law that effectively banned 95% of all handguns, his approval rating is now at 55% and still dropping. That’s not to say he won’t win reelection, but his viability as a National candidate ( either VP or Prez) has taken a hit, perhaps Terry ( if your theories about national aspirations are true) will learn from that, or perhaps not.

    • Manny

      1. There is no gun show loophole, so-called or otherwise.
      2. I doubt he’d get anything worth noting past the HoD.

      • DJRippert

        Until gun sales at gun shows follow the same rules as gun sales at gun shops there is a loophole. If conservatives really want to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill then there is work to be done. The background verification process needs improvement and all gun sales at gun shows need to be verified.

        The Republicans will keep the HoD this cycle but will lose seats. I am guessing a 4 – 6 seat loss. Meanwhile, Republican delegates in urban areas will feel pressure to vote in favor of some limited gun control. Jim LeMunyon, for example, voted against the repeal of the one handgun per month bill last session. To be fair, some Democratic politicians, such as Creigh Deeds, voted in favor of the repeal.

        The big question will be the 2015 elections. At this moment, the Republican trajectory in Virginia is worrisome. Other than the election of 2009 the Republicans in Virginia have been getting pasted of late. Eventually, decent candidates will be dissuaded from running (and losing) and donors will be dissuaded from wasting their money on losing candidates.

        Given the state of politics in Virginia, I would be very careful about making predictions about the House of Delegates being a long term, or even mid term, fire wall.

        • Manny

          You clearly have no idea what you are talking about in regards to gun shows. The rules are exactly the same at gun shows as anywhere else. Buying from an federally licensed dealer? Go through background check, whether at gun show or not. Buying from a private individual? No background check needed, whether at a gun show or not. If you believe otherwise please cite the section of the Virginia Code that says otherwise.

          • DJRippert

            Here is the wording for the Colorado gun show loophole law (which, in your opinion, doesn’t exist):

            “”Requires background checks if any part of a gun purchase takes place at a gun show with the exception of antique guns, curios and relics; requires a designated licensed gun dealer to obtain background checks, and to keep records of purchases as he or she would when selling, renting, or exchanging at retail; defines a gun show as any event or function where 25 or more guns are offered or exhibited for sale, transfer, or exchange, or at least three gun owners exhibit, sell, offer for sale, transfer, or exchange guns; and creates misdemeanor penalties punishable by jail, fines, or both.”.

            It passed, 70% to 30%.

            Conservatives really need to stop using linguistic trickery. Birth control pills are broadly seen as contraceptives not abortifacients. If the Personhood Bill makes standard birth control pills illegal then most folks will think it is anti-contraceptive (conservative lessons in biochemistry notwithstanding). People generally see a difference between me selling you a pistol across the kitchen table and dozens / hundreds / thousands of people coming together to sell each other guns. 70% of the people in Colorado saw it that way.

          • Manny

            So you are agreeing that in the Commonwealth of Virginia, where this election is taking place, sales at guns shows are treated the same as sales not at gun shows. Thanks!

          • DJRippert

            Here was my original comment: “If McAuliffe is smart he’ll burnish his progressive bona fides by trying to get some small gun control legislation passed – maybe closing the so-called gun show loophole.”.

            The question was never whether Virginia treated sales at gun shows (other than by registered firearms dealers) as private sales. The question was whether McAuliffe, if elected, might try to change that.

          • Doug Brown

            Linguistic trickery? Attempting to designate a drug that attacks human life after Conception as a contraceptive rather than an abortifacient is linguistic trickery; that makes you a pathetic wordsmith and in political terms what some might refer to as a Tricky Dick.

          • notjohnsmosby

            Saying that using birth control pills is a form of abortion and should be outlawed makes you sound like Cooch, Obenshain and crew. Way, way outside the mainstream, which is the Democratic point.

          • Doug Brown

            The Democratic point is to confuse the issue and confuse the voters. What I said is an abortifacient is an abortifacient not a contraceptive. It’s fairly important distinction if one accepts that Life begins at Conception.

          • hoosierwatchingmaine

            I think that life begins at conception- at a cellular level- and sometimes birth control pills stop that cellular life by preventing implantation of cellular life in the uterus. If you want to make birth control pills illegal because you equate that with destroying “the sanctity of life”, then you need to also outlaw cars, wars, pollutants, guns, sharp knives, plastic bags, sharp corners, fireworks, junk food, for profit health care, etc., etc. Oh, and alcohol- it’s responsible for destroying the sanctity of life on a widespread scale. That Prohibition thing didn’t work out, but I guess the religious fanatics should take that up again…. I can see why Sarver will take the votes of former Republicans who are tired of “small government now means legislating the populace according to right wing fundamentalist religious delusions” as represented by Cuccinelli..
            “I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.”
            ? Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

          • Doug Brown

            Great you think that life begins at Conception, you’ve made the first step towards making a rational decision towards whether you will be someone who can live in peace and harmony with his fellow human beings or whether you will be a sociopathic killer.

          • DJRippert

            Quote the Virginia code? Seriously? The entire discussion has been about changing the Virginia code to add a law like the one in Colorado. If there already was wording in the Virginia code similar to the law in Colorado we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    • Michael Polito

      Do you think the House of Delegates would pass any gun control bill?

      • DJRippert

        I’d like to see what the House looks like after next Tuesday. If the polls are right and the Republicans crash and burn it may cause them to lose some House seats. I see no way that the Republicans lose control of the house but they almost certainly will end up with a smaller majority.

        Assuming the RPV loses 6 House seats next Tuesday, I’d put the odds of the House passing “any gun control law” at about 25% during the 2014 and 2015 sessions. If Conservatives continue to press the very reasonable point that guns should be kept away from the mentally ill then a Colorado – like law requiring background checks at some gun shows might pass. Unlikely but possible.

        Of course, another Virginia Tech / Columbine / Newtown event could change the odds.

      • DJRippert

        The bigger point is what happens if McAuliffe wins with lukewarm voter support. Norm thinks that could be his undoing. I don’t. Virginians tend to like their governors. When was the last time that any Virginia governor had the kind of negatives that you see for the president or congress?

        McAuliffe will try to avoid mistakes, make a little forward progress and burnish his progressive credentials. Avoid mistakes – no Star Scientific like issues. Make a little forward progress – maybe some relatively slight transportation reform (demanding ROI analysis on roadway projects). Burnish his progressive credentials – proposed lightweight gun control legislation. McAuliffe will be happier if his proposed gun control legislation passes but it won’t bother him much if it doesn’t. He wants to come out of his tenure as governor as a relatively popular, left leaning politician with the managerial creds you get from having been a governor that didn’t make any big mistakes.

        That sets him up for the “next thing”.

  • ghostofteddalton

    Leahy and Goldman had a good column today. But honestly….if what I think is going to happen, happens in a week…..this blog should simply spend a month on a serious analysis. This is the biggest collapse since Mary Sue Terry. 1993 really marked a changing of the guard in rural Virginia. That year is when the rural part of the state started to give enormous margins to the GOP.

    Will 2013 be another enormous shift? Is NoVa simply going hard D? It’s been trending that way, but the GOP has held on to local offices, state house seats, etc. I remember how after 1993, the rural localities kept seeing those local officials and Delegates and Senators who were Democrats get picked off one by one, year after year until Roscoe finally fell in 2011. Now Puckett’s about the only one left in the entire state. Are we about to witness that in NoVa? Will it be all D from Loudoun to Prince William in a decade?

  • Jen L

    So, based on this poll, 53% of responders were voting for one person because they didn’t like the other. Imagine if all those people voted for the third option! We would actually have a smart person in the Governor’s mansion who also does not owe anyone favors.

  • Downstater

    I for one am particularly disturbed that Cuccinelli’s ads seemed to have been pulled out of N. VA. I believe I read on this blog that resources were being spent downstate in order to get more bang for the buck. Without knowing how much the campaign has left to spent, this is disturbing given that KC should be following McAuliffe’s ads. with the 2 major late developments in his favor:

    1) The “I told you so” regarding Obamacare – both the technical roll-out plus the main stream media stories regarding so many Americans losing their existing plans and seeing dramatic rate increases.

    2) The TMac invested in a company who stole the identities of dying cancer patients story. That one was excellent.

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