RICHMOND, October 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An upset victory may be within reach for pro-life Republican underdog Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor race, according to two new polls.
A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday shows heavily-funded, Planned Parenthood-backed Terry McAuliffe up by only four points in the race for Virginia governor, slashing by two-thirds the lead a Washington Post poll credited him with just days ago.
A recent Wenzel Strategies survey of likely voters shows the race even closer than that, with McAuliffe with just a single point lead on Cuccinelli.
Earlier this week, a Washington Post poll showed McAuliffe leading with 51 percent of the vote to Cuccinelli’s 39 percent. But both the Quinnipiac and Wenzel polls used a turnout model weighted to reflect real-life voting trends in recent Virginia elections, meaning they may be more accurate than the Post’s prediction.
“State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is nipping at Terry McAuliffe’s heels as the race to be Virginia’s next governor enters the final week of the campaign,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The Quinnipiac poll shows McAuliffe, a former Clinton fundraiser and past chairman of the Democratic National Committee, with only 45 percent of the likely vote, compared to Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s 41 percent. Another 9 percent of likely voters say they plan to choose Libertarian Robert Sarvis.
If Sarvis wasn’t a contender, Quinnipiac says the race would be even closer – 47 percent for McAuliffe and 45 percent for Cuccinelli, just a two-point difference.
“With the race this close, the final decision by the roughly one in 10 voters who are supporting Libertarian Robert Sarvis has become even more critical,” Brown said. “Nationally, third-party candidates often lose support in the end as voters enter the voting booth and back someone they consider the lesser of two evils.”
Added Brown, “It goes without saying that turnout is the key to this race and the harshly negative tone of the campaign is the kind that often turns off voters.”
The campaign has indeed been a vicious one, with McAuliffe reaching deep into the pockets of his Clinton-era connections for millions of dollars to spend on ads attacking Cuccinelli for his pro-life, conservative values.
In recent weeks, McAuliffe has outspent Cuccinelli ten-to-one on advertising designed to paint the attorney general as an “extremist” mounting a “war on women” because of his opposition to abortion-on-demand and the controversial HHS contraception mandate. (Cuccinelli was the first state attorney general to mount a constitutional challenge to the mandate.)
Additionally, Planned Parenthood’s political action arm has dumped more than a million dollars into the race on McAuliffe’s behalf, while their president, Cecile Richards, has called Cuccinelli’s defeat the abortion giant’s “top priority.”
Despite the lopsided spending, Cuccinelli has enjoyed a sudden surge ahead of Tuesday’s election, with the Wenzel Strategies poll giving him 40 percent of likely voters, compared to 41 percent for McAuliffe.
“The survey shows there is reason to believe the race may well be tightening going into the final stretch,” said pollster Fritz Wenzel. “As the shutdown fades, another key issue that benefits Cuccinelli – the expanding controversy over the bungled rollout of Obamacare – is bound to grab more attention among voters by the day. It could well be that Cuccinelli has bounced off his low point and is headed up.”
Indeed, Cuccinelli has tried to seize on the opportunity to tie McAuliffe to the failed launch of President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation, just as Obama is slated to join McAuliffe on the campaign trail this weekend.
“It’s telling that in the final moments of the campaign for governor, Terry McAuliffe has decided to campaign with President Obama,” Cuccinelli said Wednesday. “The move makes official what we have already known to be true: McAuliffe’s unwavering support for the President’s signature legislative achievement, Obamacare.
“The law is already preventing hiring and job growth across Virginia, driving up the cost of insurance for families and forcing employers to drop coverage for workers. Now we also know that Obama Administration officials, including the President himself, were knowingly misleading the public when they said that the American people would be able to stay on their health plans despite the new law.”
“If McAuliffe wanted to do right by the people of Virginia, he would ask the President to apologize for misleading the public so spectacularly,” said Cuccinelli. “That, of course, is unlikely, since McAuliffe was an ardent supporter of the law, so much so that he thought it didn’t go far enough.”
McAuliffe has been supportive of Obamacare, going so far as to make large portions of his economic plan for Virginia dependent on the law’s success. To pay for McAuliffe’s economic wish list – which includes significant expansions to social services not covered by current budgetary projections – the cash-strapped federal government must come through on its promise to provide federal subsidies to cover the 400,000 people he wants to add to the state’s Medicaid rolls.
Cuccinelli said that’s unlikely to happen, and noted that even the Washington Post, which endorsed McAuliffe, admitted the Democrat’s dependence on the Medicaid expansion provision of Obamacare for his economic plan’s success is a recipe for disaster.
Virginia’s election will be held Tuesday, November 5. Polls open at 6:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM, EST.