WASHINGTON (WAVY) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is leading the race in a new NBC News/Marist poll, a contrast from the same poll conducted just months before.
The poll results, obtained by WAVY.com, show 43 percent of likely voters supporting McAuliffe, while 38 percent support Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and eight percent support Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. 10 percent of likely voters say they are still undecided.
In a May NBC News/Marist poll, Cuccinelli led the race with 45 percent to McAuliffe’s 42 percent.
Fifty-nine percent of those polled in September say they strongly support the candidate they chose. 31 percent somewhat support the candidate and nine percent said they might change their mind on Election Day.
When it comes to favorability, McAuliffe also leads. According to the poll, 44 percent of likely voters say they have a favorable impression of the Democratic candidate, while 38 percent have a favorable impression of Cuccinelli. 36 percent of likely voters have an unfavorable impression of McAuliffe, compared to 49 percent for Cuccinelli.
"Virginians are siding with Terry McAuliffe's mainstream business approach over Ken Cuccinelli's extreme ideological agenda," said McAuliffe spokesperson Josh Schwerin. "The more voters learn about Ken Cuccinelli's extreme record the more concerned they are. With about 40 days to go about half of Virginians now view Cuccinelli negatively, a sign that his brand of divisive social ideology is simply too far outside the Virginia mainstream."
“Coming off a week in which Ken Cuccinelli secured one of the most important business endorsements in Virginia while Terry McAuliffe was exposed for having misled Virginians about critical policy details and his continued involvement with GreenTech Automotive, our campaign feels very good about our position heading into Wednesday’s pivotal Fairfax Chamber of Commerce Debate,” Richard T. Cullen, Communications Director for Cuccinelli’s campaign said. “This contest has been and remains a close race featuring a significant percentage of undecided voters. It’s important to note that Ken Cuccinelli has a significant enthusiasm advantage and Terry McAuliffe has a history of losing support towards the end as voters learn more about him. Ken Cuccinelli is going to win on November 5th because a majority of voters are going to recognize that he’s the only candidate with a substantive plan to create 58,000 jobs and a proven record of fighting for them.”
The majority of likely voters say they are unsure or haven’t heard enough about Robert Sarvis to form an opinion, with 64 percent of the vote. 21 percent have a favorable impression and 15 percent have an unfavorable impression.
Gender is playing a big role in the race, according to NBC News and Marist. 50 percent of women who are likely to vote on Election Day support McAuliffe, with just 32 percent of women supporting Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli does lead among men with 44 percent to McAuliffe’s 36 percent.
The races for lieutenant governor and attorney general are very close, though the Democratic candidates are leading in both.
Among likely voters, 44 percent support Democratic candidate Ralph Northam for lieutenant governor, with 41 percent backing Republican candidate E.W. Jackson. 13 percent are undecided.
For attorney general, 39 percent of likely voters support Democratic candidate Mark Herring, while 34 percent support Republican candidate Mark Obenshain. 26 percent remain undecided.
The poll was conducted between Sept. 17 and Sept. 19, with 1,213 adults surveyed.
McAuliffe and Cuccinelli are scheduled to square off in a debate Wednesday night. The debate can be seen on WAVY TV 10 at 7 p.m.
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