McAuliffe poll shock: Democrat up by only 4 points in Virginia governor’s race

Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II by 4 points in the Virginia governor’s race, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday — a considerably narrower margin than other recent public polling has shown.

The businessman and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee leads Mr. Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, 45 percent to 41 percent, the poll showed, with 9 percent of likely voters opting for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. That lead is down from a 46 percent to 39 percent advantage for Mr. McAuliffe in a Quinnipiac poll last week, when Mr. Sarvis was at 10 percent.

“State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is nipping at Terry McAuliffe’s heels as the race to be Virginia’s next governor enters the final week of the campaign,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “It goes without saying that turnout is the key to this race and the harshly negative tone of the campaign is the kind that often turns off voters.”

If Mr. Sarvis were not in the race, the poll shows, Mr. McAuliffe would have a razor-thin two-point edge, 47 percent to 45 percent. In the three-way contest, four percent are undecided and 7 percent of those who make a choice say there’s a good chance their mind could change by election day.

McAuliffe leads 91-2 percent among Democrats, with 4 percent opting for Mr. Sarvis, while Cuccinelli leads 86-5 percent among Republicans, with 7 percent choosing Mr. Sarvis. Independent voters break for McAuliffe, 46-31 percent, with 16 percent for Mr. Sarvis.

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