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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
HomePollsGOP Has The Enthusiasm In Virginia Governor Race, But Is It Enough?

GOP Has The Enthusiasm In Virginia Governor Race, But Is It Enough?

virginia governor

On Sunday, People’s Pundit Daily changed the rating for the Virginia governor race from “Leans Democrat” back to “Toss-Up,” because of polling momentum, enthusiasm, ObamaCare blowback, and support for the Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, falling.

The latest survey from Quinnipiac University shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe holding on to a 6-point lead. The Libertarian Candidate Robert Sarvis, is again polling in the high single-digits with 8 percent. Ken Cuccinelli is enjoying a large 54 – 36 percent enthusiasm gap, and in a turnout election that can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

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.

But will enthusiasm be enough for Ken Cuccinelli to pull off an upset? Let’s look at some numbers, keeping with the latest Quinnipiac University survey for simplicity.

Over the weekend, polling began to show GOP voters were coming home, mainly in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, which was no doubt suburban women voters just now paying attention to the ObamaCare debacle.

However, the latest polling shows that, once again, Cuccinelli is struggling “to unite the Republican base, and if today’s data holds true for another 24 hours, analysts may look back at his 85 percent of the GOP vote as his fatal flaw, while McAuliffe was getting 93 percent of the Democratic vote,” as assistant director at Quinnipiac Peter Brown, noted.

Worth noting, the Quinnipiac University poll puts black voters at 18 percent of the electorate, which is undeniably high, particularly during a midterm election. Still, Democrats have been extremely concerned black voters will not be enthusiastic about an elitist, white liberal whom they don’t connect with, which is why Barack Obama took the risk campaigning with McAuliffe on Sunday.

Many campaign operatives thought Obama might do more harm than good, but they need those black voters to come out, and the “scare black voters” strategy previously reported by Politico wasn’t working.

In the final days and hours of the campaign, his campaign will be joined by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, which is clearly to help him with those moderate base voters, while Ron Paul — the libertarian king-maker — is geared toward Sarvis voters and young turnout.

Among independents, Ken Cuccinelli has managed to tie it up at 40 percent, but losing grip of his GOP base voters has offset those gains. Because McAuliffe leads among women 50 – 36 percent, we can safely conclude that GOP women are the Republican’s biggest challenge.

Quinnipiac found 5 percent of likely voters remain undecided and 5 percent of those who say they are for a candidate report “there’s a good chance they will change their mind” by Election Day tomorrow, including a whole 1 in 4 who are among the 8 percent supporting Sarvis.

Statistically, that’s enough for Ken Cuccinelli if the political stars align, but he clearly has some challenges, and he must use the next 24 hours wisely. In a low turnout election, Ken Cuccinelli has an advantage not being identified by polling, because his enthusiasm gap has been consistent, widespread among pollsters, and statistically significant.

“If mainstream Virginians from both parties don’t turn out to vote,” McAuliffe said Sunday, “you’re letting the tea party decide Virginia’s future.”

Nevertheless, though McAuliffe clearly has an edge, because Ken Cuccinelli has a statistically significant history of polling worse than he performs on Election Day, the reality that polling may not have completely caught up to the ObamaCare blowback, and the fact that much of McAuliffe’s lead relies on black turnout (which Democrats are secretly very concerned about), the Virginia governor race is still a “Toss-Up.”

(View PPD Governor Races And Ratings Map)

Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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