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A Tight Race In Virginia

Two new polls out of the Commonwealth of Virginia show a Governor’s race that continues to be tight,  with a huge number of undecided voters:

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows McAuliffe with a slight 43%-39% lead over Cuccinelli, fueled in part by McAuliffe’s lead among women, 48%-32%, and among African-Americans, 73%-7%. Cuccinelli leads with men, 46%-38% and white voters, 48%-36%. Similar to a bipartisan survey last week,the Qunnipiac poll also found those surveyed supported allowing same-sex marriage in Virginia by a 50%-43% margin  just five years after a statewide ban passed 57%.

Roanoke College survey put Cuccinelli narrowly ahead, 37%-31%, but with 27% of respondents undecided. The survey also showed other statewide races close, but also with a high number of undecided voters. In the lieutenant governor’s race, Democrat Ralph Northam led controversial GOP nominee E.W. Jackson, 30%-28%, with 41% undecided. In the attorney general race, Republican Mark Obenshain led Democrat Mark Herring, 33%-29%, with 38% undecided.

With recent polling, this leaves the RealClearPolitics average showing Terry McAuliffe with a slim 1.3% lead in the polling average, but there’s also an average undecided figure of ~20% of the vote that could go in either direction. Not noted above is the fact that the Roanoke College poll gives Libertarian nominee Robert Sarvis 5% of the vote. The Quinnipiac poll did not include Sarvis in its survey. Cuccinelli and McAuliffe meet in their first debate on Saturday but it seems clear that most Virginians haven’t really started paying attention to this race so I don’t expect to see much movement in this race until the campaign really begins in September.

One correction to the report quoted above, though. Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban, the Marshall-Newman Amendment, was passed seven years ago by referendum in 2006, not five years ago as noted.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook