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Poll: McAuliffe, Cuccinelli in Dead Heat in VA Governor's Race

Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning shows race has tightened a bit since November.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli are virtually tied at the beginning of the race for the governor's seat in Virginia, according to a new poll released Wednesday morning.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows McAuliffe with 40 percent to Cuccinelli's 39 percent. One in five voters say they are undecided, according to the poll.

In November, a similar poll showed McAuliffe with 41 percent to Cuccinelli's 37 percent.

"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, in a news release.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling dropped out of the race in late 2012, citing a change in the nomination process as his reason for dropping out. There is speculation that Bolling may run as an independent.

In the past, nominees were chosen in a statewide primary, but the 2013 candidates will be chosen at a party convention.

“I reluctantly concluded that the decision to change the method of nomination from a primary to a convention created too many obstacles for us to overcome,” he said at the time. Bolling said he feared the convention system would only divide the state GOP, inhibiting its ability to reach and help Virginia residents.

"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," Brown said. "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." 

McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee,  Cuccinelli announced in late 2011 he was running.

McAuliffe ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2009. He lost (in a three-way Democratic primary race that included Brian Moran) to Creigh Deeds, who lost the general election to Gov. Bob McDonnell. McAuliffe was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001-2005. He helped run President Clinton's reelection campaign in 1996 and chaired Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008. He has criss-crossed Virginia in his bid for the governor's seat. He is currently self-employed, as chairman of GreenTech Automotive.

Democrat Sen. Mark Warner, a former governor of Virginia, announced in late November that he won't run again for governor. Virginia is the only state in the country where a governor can only serve one term at a time.

Cuccinelli has nearly $700,000 campaign cash on hand, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. He has spent nearly $300,000 as of June 2012, records show.

Cuccinelli has been attorney general of Virginia since 2010. Previously, he was a state senator representing the 37th District in Fairfax County, from 2002-2010.

Campaign finance records are not available yet for McAuliffe. Media reports say he raised $8 million for his unsuccessful bid in 2009.

Ellie Lockwood January 10, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Lots of faux pas to go around. Terry McAuliffe's days at Global Crossing are interesting enough, I can't WAIT to see ten years worth of HIS tax returns.
Ellie Lockwood January 11, 2013 at 01:44 AM
....on the OTHERHAND, I think the AG just saved Fairfax tax payers about $300 MILLION with another cockamamie suite against the EPA who thought rain water was a pollutant! If he hadn't, Loudoun County would have been next. If the choice is between a fighter and a self-described "Hustler", it's no contest!
Jerilyn Polson January 11, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Mr. Cuccinelli doesn't appear to care about polls or popularity, and for that he should earn the respect of intelligent voters. I haven't always agreed with all of his positions, but we must concede that his beliefs, his words, and his actions are all in allignment, and I sincerely doubt there are skeletons in his closet. A politician with integrity? Rare indeed. He also knows his way around state and federal government, absolutely essential here in the metro area.
Sandra January 11, 2013 at 04:05 AM
Um, personally I don't care that Cuccinelli's beliefs and actions are in alignment - what I care about is the fact that he seems determined to force his beliefs, especially his social and religious beliefs, on all of us, regardless. I find it personally offensive that his party's position is supposedly based on less government intrusion into our personal lives, while at the same time he has been a part of government rules and regs that force unnecessary medical procedures on women that don't require them. That's why I will vote for pretty much anyone rather than this guy.
Jim Daniels January 11, 2013 at 02:12 PM
R...I also think you might be pleasantly surprised with McAuliffe. I know what his rap is, but he can be a very effective speaker and debater, and I would not underestimate his ability to gather support over and above the "anyone but Cuccinelli" voter.

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