Former Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe is leading among likely voters in the upcoming Virginia gubernatorial election, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.
The poll found that 48 percent of likely Virginia voters would vote for McAuliffe if the election were held today, while 42 percent said they would vote for Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Quinnipiac noted that the latest results are not comparable to previous surveys of registered Virginia voters, which showed McAuliffe with slightly narrower leads.
While likely Virginia voters said honesty is the most important quality when choosing a candidate, the poll showed that voters are divided on whether McAuliffe or Cuccinelli are honest and trustworthy.
Meanwhile, McAuliffe has a 16 percentage point lead among voters who say empathy or understanding their problems is extremely important, while Cuccinelli has a 23 percentage point advantage among those who say experience is extremely important.
"It's a tossup among voters who say honesty is extremely important," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Voters care more about empathy than experience which helps explain McAuliffe's lead."
He added, "The campaign has been light on issues and big on personalities, and it is in the area of personal characteristics that McAuliffe has a small edge."
Brown noted that Cuccinelli has been negatively impacted by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell's political troubles.
The Quinnipiac survey of 1,129 likely Virginia voters was conducted August 14th through 19th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
(Photo Credit: Kate Wellington)
by RTT Staff Writer
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