UPDATE: The final Quinnipiac University poll shows Ken Cuccinelli now trailing McAuliffe by 6 percent, which is a bump up for the Democratic candidate from his drop in support over the weekend. Interestingly, Robert Sarvis has lost further support, but it doesn’t seem to benefit Cuccinelli enough.
Also, independents are now evenly split between the two candidates 40 – 40 percent, which represents a double-digit increase for the Republican Ken Cuccinelli, yet Quinnipiac said some GOP voters who came home over the weekend have peeled away. It doesn’t seem Ken Cuccinelli can put together the right formula for the pollster, but that isn’t enough to change the rating.
Cuccinelli is enjoying a large 54 – 36 percent enthusiasm gap, which could be harmed by polling efforts and results, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Because Ken Cuccinelli has a history of polling significantly better than he performs, the race is still a “Toss-Up.”
EARLIER: Republican candidate for Virginia governor Ken Cuccinelli, has managed to erase Terry McAuliffe’s high single-digit to low-double digit lead in the final stretch of the campaign, polling shows. Outspent 10 – 1 by Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, with just about every big name Democrat to include President Obama stumping for their guy, Ken Cuccinelli urged supporters to keep up the hard work.
“They have money — we have momentum,” he told a crowd more than 100 Virginians crammed to the tee inside of Mimi’s Restaurant in Short Pump. Ken Cuccinelli looked considerably more optimistic going into the final stretch, and according to the polls, he has a reason to be.
The latest polling shows Ken Cuccinelli pulling off a pretty remarkable hat-trick, considering Democrat Terry McAuliffe has collected $34.4 million, compared with Mr. Cuccinelli’s $19.7 million, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. “You all are in one of the swing counties — this is going to be one of those bellwethers,” said the candidate. “If we win Henrico, the odds are pretty darn good we win this race. I need you all to push that through for me.”
The issue of ObamaCare and the president’s broken promise has really resonated with voters in the final days, which Ken Cuccinelli hopes will bring him the momentum needed to pull off a victory. The message is a winner for supporter Jan Hansen, who is a 73-year-old retired businessman who lives near the Short Pump area.
“I’m afraid of what’s going on with the country with Obamacare,” he said. “I’m afraid it’s going to destroy the country we know today. I really think that we need to make sure that at least in Virginia, we stop it.”
Today, Ken Cuccinelli made the rounds, traveling from the Shenandoah Valley to Southside to Southwest Virginia, ending up in Harrisonburg, Martinsville, Lynchburg, Roanoke and Abingdon. Ann Beauchamp said she is angry that “so many of his detractors believe he is going to take away women’s issues — he does have five daughters.”
Beauchamp, who calls herself a “pro-choice Republican,” is a 56-year-old Goochland County mother of three and the exact kind of moderate Republican woman voter the McAuliffe campaign tried to appeal to in the earlier stages of campaign. Beauchamp said that she is supporting Ken Cuccinelli now, because “I think he’s a really ethical, honest person who will deliver on what he says. I like that he’s for small government and personal liberties.”
Still slightly ahead, Terry McAuliffe has broken out the big guns in the finals days of the campaign, tapping his political favors keg in hopes he will hold on to a small lead. The Washington Post, who has been favorable if not complacent to his campaign, described the McAuliffe strategy. “In the years since [the failed run in the 2009 Democratic primary], he has applied his famously effective scratch-my-back skills to the state’s Democratic hierarchy, which rewarded him by preventing a primary challenge this year,” they wrote.
Campaigns always give away how well they feel they are doing, and when President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joins the Democratic candidate, rest assure they aren’t too comfortable with the tightening of the polls. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz joined McAuliffe later Sunday, and President Obama filled another Sunday slot. Vice President Joe Biden is slotted to campaign with McAuliffe Monday.
Ken Cuccinelli campaigned this past Saturday with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, while Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian favorite, are set to join him in the final days. The visit by Ron Paul, as well as visits from his son Senator Rand Paul, are clear indications they are making a serious effort to pull votes away from Libertarian Robert Sarvis.
The latest Emerson College poll showing McAuliffe’s lead evaporate down to 2 percent, also showed Sarvis polling at 13 percent, which could easily tilt the election to Ken Cuccinelli if they are successful. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, which will release their final at 6:00 A.M, only 6 in 10 Sarvis voters say they will surely vote for him, but that notoriously translates into lost support.
“With the race this close, the final decision by the roughly one in 10 voters who are supporting Libertarian Robert Sarvis has become even more critical. Nationally, third-party candidates often lose support in the end as voters enter the voting booth and back someone they consider the lesser of two evils,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
According to the Hampton University poll, Sarvis supporters favor Cuccinelli as their “second choice” by a 2 to 1 margin. When asked, 43 percent of Sarvis supporters say they’d vote for Cuccinelli if Sarvis were not in the race, while 24 percent say they would vote for McAuliffe if Sarvis were not in the race, and 33 percent say they don’t know for whom they would vote.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is nothing short of a conservative hero, is helping Ken Cuccinelli turn out his base, while appealing to independents.
At a rally on Saturday, Walker said that Democrat Terry McAuliffe will be in the pocket of “big government union bosses” if he wins the Virginia governor’s race, which is pretty indisputable considering the I.O.U. report from the Washington Post. Walker said, “Do you want someone who is going to side with the big government labor unions,” he said at one of two stops ahead of Tuesday’s off-year election, “or do you want to someone who will stand with the taxpayers of the commonwealth?”
“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 Brown. “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.”
The Chief of the Virginia Board of Elections said turnout could be as low as 30 percent of registered voters, and both the Cuccinelli and McAuliffe campaigns expect no more than 40 percent turnout for the ceiling. Given the momentum and the political fallout over ObamaCare, it is wholly possible the polling has yet to catch up to the actual votes on the ground.
That said, because of Ken Cuccinelli enjoying huge enthusiasm driven by anti-ObamaCare sentiment, polling momentum, and the fact Democrats are very worried that black voters won’t come out for a white liberal aristocrat, People’s Pundit Daily is changing the Virginia governor race rating from “Leans Democrat,” to “Toss-Up” (View PPD Governor Races And Ratings Map).
(Note: While I still see McAuliffe with a slight advantage, the race has shifted considerably, and it is foreseeable that advantage may be erased or even reversed before polling ever picks it up. Sarvis slipping will have a huge factor if it doesn’t get arrested, but this late in the game, it appears Virginia may do what they frequently do to third-party candidates, which is dump them in the last minute.)