Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli are deadlocked in the race to replace Bob McDonnell as Governor of Virginia, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.
The poll showed that 38 percent of Virginia voters said they would vote for McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, while 38 percent said they would vote for Cuccinelli, the state's Attorney General.
Another 21 percent of voters said they are undecided, suggesting that the race could see significant movement ahead of the election in November.
If Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling were to enter the race as an independent, Quinnipiac said the race would remain in a statistical tie, with McAuliffe at 34 percent, Cuccinelli at 31 percent and Bolling at 13 percent.
Quinnipiac noted that the results of the latest poll are almost identical to the results of a poll conducted in early January.
"Although the folks in Richmond are paying close attention to the political maneuvering around the governor's race, most Virginians have not yet begun focusing on it," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The poll found that 60 percent of voters don't know enough about McAuliffe to form an opinion, while 72 percent said the same about Bolling.
Meanwhile, Cuccinelli has a 30 percent to 25 percent favorability rating, while another 44 percent said they haven't heard enough about him.
"Bolling probably has the greatest growth potential of the candidates but he also has the farthest to go to become a major contender," said Brown.
He added, "At this point - although it certainly could change - the data indicates that Bolling's GOP critics who say he can't win as an independent but might tilt the result to McAuliffe could be on to something.
The poll also showed Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, with a 53 percent to 28 percent job approval rating. Under Virginia law, governors cannot serve consecutive terms.
The survey of 1,112 registered Virginia voters was conducted February 14th through 18th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
by RTT Staff Writer
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