The Roanoke College Poll: Cuccinelli Holds Narrow Lead Over McAuliffe

One-quarter of voters still undecided

Jul 17, 2013, 12:59 ET from The Roanoke College Poll

ROANOKE, Va., July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --  Republican Ken Cuccinelli leads Democrat Terry McAuliffe (37%-31%), but more than one-fourth (27%) of registered voters in Virginia remain undecided in the 2013 gubernatorial election, according to The Roanoke College Poll. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis claimed 5 percent of respondents.

The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 525 registered voters in Virginia between July 8 and July 14 and has a margin of error of +4.3 percent.

The major party candidates are becoming more familiar to Virginians, and views are somewhat more positive, with each now seen more favorably than unfavorably. A plurality of Virginia registered voters did not know enough about McAuliffe (45%) to have an opinion about him, and 34 percent don't have an opinion of Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli has improved his favorable/unfavorable split (33 %/26%), compared with the April Roanoke College Poll, while McAuliffe has more than doubled his favorable views (24%/20%).  

A plurality of respondents (47%) don't know enough about Cuccinelli to gauge his ideology, while 23 percent thought he was too conservative for Virginia and 26 percent thought he was about right. Nearly two-thirds (64%) were not familiar with McAuliffe's ideology; 15 percent see him as too liberal and 17 percent thought his ideology was about right.

When those respondents who were "leaning" toward a candidate were included in the analysis, Cuccinelli led McAuliffe (39%-33%), Sarvis stayed steady at 5 percent, and the number of undecided voters dropped to 23 percent. Sarvis seems to draw about equally from both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, but that number is very small. The sources of support for each candidate follow what we would expect. That said, Independents were twice as likely to be undecided as either Republicans or Democrats. Moderates and conservatives were twice as likely to be undecided as liberals. Cuccinelli led among Independents (33%-21%), and McAuliffe led among moderates (40%-29%).

"The political landscape is beginning to clear as voters learn more about the candidates," said Dr. Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. "Both candidates are now viewed favorably, although there are many voters who don't know much about them. Given the lack of attention being paid to the campaign, that is not surprising."



SOURCE The Roanoke College Poll