PPP: McAuliffe 46, Cuccinelli 41

One of the first polls of Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial race is out, from PPP, and the headline number shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe holding a 46-41 lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, with 13 percent undecided. The poll has a four point margin of error.

The wild card in the race is current Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who has made several rumblings that he is considering an independent run for the state’s top job. If Bolling is in the race, PPP finds it would create serious problems for Cuccinelli:

At this point, [Bolling] would get a solid 15% of the vote and, as one might expect, help McAuliffe to a wider 40-32 advantage over Cuccinelli. Bolling draws equally from the two among independents, taking 24% of their vote. He makes virtually no dent in McAuliffe’s intraparty support, but knocks Cuccinelli down 12 points among the GOP, with 19% of Republican votes.

So, at least according to PPP, Ken Cuccinelli has several problems on his hands — moderates don’t seem to like him and he has issues with independents. He also has work to do within the Republican ranks.

Are Cuccinelli’s troubles enough for Mr. Bolling to do more than toy with the idea of an independent bid? He wouldn’t win, at least not according to these very early numbers. But if one’s gauge for victory is denying Cuccinelli higher office, a few more sets of numbers like these would be incentive enough to run.

Right into political oblivion.