RICHMOND (AP) -- In a gubernatorial race where Virginia voters are putting the trust issue foremost, a new statewide poll says Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a clear lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
Quinnipiac University's just-released survey of 1,129 likely voters found that 48 percent supported McAuliffe to 42 percent who backed Cuccinelli, the state attorney general.
The poll is based on telephone interviews from Aug. 14-19. McAuliffe's lead is just outside the poll's margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
Trustworthiness was the respondents' top concern as 93 percent of respondents ranked it as very important or extremely important to them. Forty-two percent considered Cuccinelli trustworthy while 43 percent said he's not. Thirty-nine percent found McAuliffe trustworthy compared to 36 percent who said he isn't.
"Democrat Terry McAuliffe is up 16 percentage points among voters who say empathy or understanding their problems is extremely important, while Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has a 23-point advantage among those who say the right kind of experience is extremely important," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "It's a tossup among voters who say honesty is extremely important. Voters care more about empathy than experience which helps explain McAuliffe's lead."