GOV. POLL: Cuccinelli, McAuliffe in dead heat, undecided Bolling trails

Posted at 7:24 AM, Jan 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-09 08:05:00-05

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Presumed nominees Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe are in a dead heat in Virginia’s 2013 gubernatorial race, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Republican Attorney General Cuccinelli trails former DNC Chair McAulliffe by 1 point — at 39 to 40 percent, less than the poll’s margin of error.

Even if Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who has been mulling a run as an independent after conceding the GOP nomination to Cuccinelli, is thrown into the mix, the result remains the same. In this case Cuccinelli and McAuliffe poll at 34 percent a piece, and Bolling at 13 percent.

Voter recognition remains low for all three candidates, with two-thirds of those polled saying they don’t know who they are. According to the pollster, this means it could still take a while for the race to take shape.

“While all three candidates for governor have run statewide previously, voter memories are short and they are little-known to Virginia voters,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “It goes without saying that with this relatively low level of voter recognition it will be some time before the shape of the race becomes clear. What is clear is that as an independent Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling faces a pretty stiff uphill climb should he decide to run as an independent.”

“Logic tells us that if Bolling should run for governor as an independent, he would likely take more votes from fellow Republican Cuccinelli than from Democrat McAuliffe, but at this point the data indicates he would take equally from both major party candidates,” Brown added.

The poll also gauged public opinion of Governor Bob McDonnell as he enters the final year of his term. His approval rating remain typically high, earning a 45 percent favorability rating and a 54 percent job approval rating.

Cuccinelli gets a 48 – 27 percent approval rating for his job performance as attorney general, compared to Bolling’s 40 – 16 percent rating for his work as lieutenant governor.

The state’s U.S. Senator’s Mark Warner and Tim Kaine also score high, 59 percent and 48 percent approval ratings respectively.