NEWPORT NEWS - The government shutdown is having an affect on the Virginia governor's race and it's helping Democrat Terry McAuliffe, according to a new poll by the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.
The poll shows McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli among likely voters, 46 percent to 39 percent. Libertarian Robert Sarvis is preferred by 11 percent of likely voters. That could mean the next governor will be elected with less than a majority for the first time since the Civil Rights era, said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.
“The shutdown is definitely motivating some voters against Cuccinelli, who already had a Tea Party problem with Independents and business-minded Republicans,” Kidd added.
Responding to the results, McAuliffe spokesperson Josh Schwerin said, "Virginians aren't falling for Ken Cuccinelli's false and desperate attacks, and continue to show their support for Terry McAuliffe, a leader who will focus on education, transportation, and issues that will create more opportunities for all Virginians."
In the lieutenant-governor race, Democrat Ralph Northam holds his lead over Republican E.W. Jackson among likely voters, 51 percent to 39 percent.
The race for attorney general is a virtually a tie with Republican Mark Obenshain leading Democrat Mark Herring among likely voters, 46 percent to 45 percent.
The Wason Center surveyed 944 registered Virginia voters, including 753 likely voters, from October 8th through the 13th. The total margin of error is +/- 3.1%; the likely voter margin of error is +/-3.6%.
The Associated Press reports the outcome of the Nov. 5 election in Virginia could provide clues about how the issue will play in next fall's House and Senate midterm elections - and give both parties a road map as they fight for control of Congress.