The Washington Post poll we first learned was in the field via a Cuccinelli fundraising appeal finds that the AG has a 5-point margin over Terry McAuliffe — 46 -41 — among registered voters. The Post calls this margin “slender” — even though it’s outside the poll’s four point margin of error.
The poll’s real story, though gets buried slightly, and it’s a doozy:
[Cuccinelli has] a significant 51 to 41 percent lead among those who say they’re certain to cast ballots in November.
Or, you can call them “likely voters.”
Even further down in the write-up, we get indications as to why McAuliffe is not faring so well:
Cuccinelli is up in the race because he has overwhelming support from the GOP base. Among all registered voters, he’s backed by 95 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of conservatives and 62 percent among white men.
By contrast, compared with Obama’s win seven months ago, McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, is badly underperforming among key Democratic constituencies he would need to prevail — young voters, women, African Americans and those in the vote-rich areas of Northern Virginia.
McAuliffe beats Cuccinelli by a big margin among nonwhite voters, 57 to 21 percent, but that is far from Obama’s tally of 83 to 16?percent in the state’s exit poll. Even state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) scored 76 percent among nonwhite voters in his unsuccessful 2009 gubernatorial bid.
Polling behind Creigh Deeds? That’s just painful. And for those hoping to appear on the Democratic ticket with McAuliffe, it’s also very troubling.
However, the usual disclaimers apply — it’s early May, so this is a data point, not a definitive. Plus, most voters don’t really know who either gubernatorial candidate is or what he stands for. On the question asked of “registered voters who know a little or more about McAuliffe,” the top answer, at eight percent was “Democrat.” A similar question asked about Ken Cuccinelli shows seven percent know him for “economy/jobs/lower taxes.”
McAuliffe’s list also includes responses for “dishonest/corrupt,” “friend of Bill/Hillary Clinton” and my favorite “wrong/mediocrity.”
And this being the Post, they did ask the hypothetical “what if Bill Bolling was in the race” question. It flips the numbers substantially in McAuliffe’s favor. But as we know, Mr. Bolling declined to make such a run.
Perhaps, for variety’s sake, the Post might toss Marshall Coleman into the mix. Or, for grins, the ghost of Henry Howell.