Quinnipiac Poll: Many Virginia voters don’t know the candidates

Posted at 8:01 AM, Mar 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-27 13:05:09-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- According to the latest Qunnipiac University poll on the race to become Virginia's next governor, most voters feel they do not yet know enough about the men running to make a choice.

However, voters polled said Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's Attorney General and the Republican gubernatorial candidate, is more experienced than Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe.

In fact, 44 percent of Virginia voters polled said they did not know enough about Cuccinelli to form an opinion, while 63 percent said they did not know enough about McAuliffe.

“Neither candidate for governor is that well known to voters although Cuccinelli has a
small edge in that department,”said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

That said, the poll found the race remains in a statistical dead heat with Cuccinelli leading McAuliffe 40 to 38 percent.

Additionally, voters ranked Cuccinelli ahead when it comes to experience. Cuccinelli is the state's current attorney general and a former state legislator.

Meanwhile, McAuliffe is a businessman and former Democratic Party leader who has never held public office.

Voters said Cuccinelli has the right  kind of experience to be governor, 44 to 22 percent. McAuliffe lags behind at 28 to 23 percent of voters that say he has enough experience.

The poll also discovered a gender gap among voters. Democrats led among women 44 to 33 percent. On the other hand, Republicans led 49 to 33 percent among men.

Much like the national stage, the economy remains the the top issue for those Virginians polled.

Thirty-seven percent of voters said the economy is the most important issue in the governor's race, followed by education at 19 percent. Taxes ranked at 15 percent and the state budget came in at 12 percent.

Among current office holders Governor Bob McDonnell's job approval remains relatively unchanged. Voters approve of his job 53 to 26 percent.

However, U.S. Senator Mark Warner remains as the Commonwealth's most popular politician with an approval rating of 56 to 26. First-term Senator Tim Kaine has an approval rating of 47 to 33 percent.

Click here to view the full Quinnipiac Poll.