Hampton University
HU Center for Public Policy Poll: With less than 1 week to go, McAuliffe holds 6 point lead
10/30/2013 - #20

Sarvis' gain is Cuccinelli’s loss  

HAMPTON, Va. – With less than one week to go before the 2013 Virginia General Elections, Democrat Terry McAuliffe holds a steady lead in the gubernatorial race over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, according to the Hampton University Center for Public Policy (HUCPP) poll released today. Democrat Ralph Northam is in front of Republican E.W. Jackson in the Lieutenant Governor’s contest and Republican Mark Obenshain maintains his lead over Democrat Mark Herring.


With support from 42 percent of likely voters in this latest tracking poll, McAuliffe holds a 6 point lead over Cuccinelli, who has support from 36 percent of likely voters.  Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis’ candidacy remains a significant factor in this race. In just one month, Sarvis has moved to double digit support with 12 percent of those polled expressing support, compared with 8 percent one month ago. While Sarvis may be the candidate considered a long shot, his momentum is clearly damaging Cuccinelli.

Without Sarvis in the race, the contest is very tight. In the two-way ballot question, McAuliffe has 42 percent, Cuccinelli has 41 percent and 17 percent of the likely voters are undecided.

When respondents who identified support for Sarvis were specifically asked for whom they would vote if Sarvis were not in the race, 43 percent chose Cuccinelli, while 24 percneet chose McAuliffe. Thirty-three percent said they “Don’t know/ [or would choose] Neither” candidate.  

“With both gubernatorial candidates having been accused of running largely negative campaigns, it is no surprise that their unfavorables remain high,” said Kelly Harvey, Director of HUCPP.  “What is a surprise, is that the race is a statistical dead heat if Sarvis was not included in the head to head match up.”


Democrat Ralph Northam has made significant strides in the race for Lieutenant Governor pulling ahead of Republican E.W. Jackson by 6 points. Just one month ago, the candidates were in a statistical dead heat with Jackson having 39 percent of the votes and Northam having 38 percent and 23 percent undecided.

In our latest poll, 43 percent of respondents believe Northam is the better choice for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, while 37 percent support Jackson. Twenty percent responded they “don’t know/not sure” who should be the next Lieutenant Governor. The candidate’s favorables with likely voters we polled have remained stagnantly low, and, it seems both candidates profiles have not improved in the last leg of the race.                                         


The candidates for the next Attorney General of Virginia increased their visibility on the campaign trail and appear to have increased their numbers across the board as a result.

Our poll reveals the Attorney General’s race as the only lead Republicans have among the top three races in the Nov. 5 Virginia General elections.

Republican candidate Mark Obenshain now holds a six point lead over Democrat Mark Herring. Of the likely voters polled in the HUCPP poll, 45 percent say they would choose Obenshain, over the 39 percent who would choose Herring, while 16 percent were undecided.


There are significant changes in the numbers for all of the candidates within the seven regions polled in the Commonwealth since the HUCPP poll last month.

McAuliffe has dropped 2 points, but still leads in his home base of the D.C. Suburbs with 48 percent. However, Cuccinelli has gained five points with 34 percent of the likely voters in the D.C. suburbs indicating that they will vote for him. Also, Sarvis jumped three points since the HUCPP poll last month and now has 12 percent of likely voters in the D.C. Suburbs.

Interestingly, in his home base, the Northern Virginia exurbs (NOVA-Exurbs) , Cuccinelli’s support has dropped by 8 points. HUCPP’s tracking poll shows that only 37 percnet of likely voters in the Northern Virginia exurbs support Cuccinelli. Forty-two percent support McAuliffe, a 9 point gain for the Democrat on his opponent’s home turf. Support for Sarvis remains unchanged at 8 percent.

The biggest and most significant change is in the greater Richmond area. Sarvis has gained 11 points in just one month, and now has 20 percent support. Cuccinelli dropped 1 point and has 34 percent support and McAuliffe remains steady at 34 percent in the greater Richmond area.

Central Virginia also showed significant changes for all three gubernatorial candidates. McAuliffe gained 8 points raising his support in this area to 45percent. Cuccinelli had a 13 point drop in support from last month’s CPP poll and now has 38 percent support. Sarvis gained 8 points garnering double digit support at 12 percent in Central Virginia.


The political dysfunction in the nation’s capital has voters in our poll showing discontent and calling for term limits for Members of Congress.

When asked who was to blame for the recent government shutdown, 45 percentof the respondents overwhelmingly blame both parties. However, 33 percent place more of the blame for the shutdown on the Republicans and 19 percent place more of the blame on the Democrats for the 16-day government shutdown. Only 3 percent said they don’t know whom to blame or were not sure.


With Members of Congress from the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate unwilling to compromise across party lines, it is not surprising that more than three-fourths of likely voters favor term limits for Members of Congress. The numbers come as no surprise, 76 percent  said they favor term limits and 16 percent said they do not favor term limits. Only 8 percent said they “don’t know or were not sure.”


Ronald Lester of Lester and Associates (Democratic pollster) and Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company (Republican Pollster) served as technical consultants to the Hampton University Center for Public Policy in the design and analysis of the survey. 

The Center for Public Policy is an objective, non-partisan source for information and solutions on a variety of topics. Along with Hampton University's mission of education and service, the Center for Public Policy stands to serve as the pulse of the people of Virginia.  Future topics will deal with health, education, transportation, violence and other topics of interest, and concern to the citizens of Virginia.  For more information on the Hampton University Center for Public Policy call 757-727-5426 or visit www.hamptonu.edu/cpp.

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