With a week to go before election day, Virginia voters favor Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor over Republican Ken Cuccinelli by more than 10 points, according to a new poll from the Washington Post. The survey found that 51 percent of likely voters support McAuliffe and just 39 percent support Cuccinelli. In addition, Libertarian party candidate Robert Sarvis pulls in 8 percent support.
That 12-point gap between McAuliffe and Cccinelli is even wider than the 5-point one the Post found a month ago. The paper attributes this difference to a "gender gap" between the candidates. "Among men, the two candidates are running even, with Cuccinelli at 45 percent and McAuliffe at 44 percent," the Post reports. "But among women, Cuccinelli trails by 24 points — 58 percent to 34 percent."
The poll reveals an interesting element of a race that has been defined by negative advertising, particularly from the better-funded McAuliffe campaign. While 50 percent of Cuccinelli supporters say their vote is more "for Cuccinelli" than "against McAuliffe," only 34 percent of McAuliffe supporters say the same thing about their candidate. In fact, 64 percent of those who plan to vote for McAuliffe say they are doing so in order to vote against Cuccinelli. McAuliffe has criticized Cuccinelli in a series of TV and radio ads for being too extreme on issues like abortion, contraception, gay marriage, and his relationships with Tea Party Republicans in Congress.
According to the Real Clear Politics poll average, McAuliffe's lead is roughly 10 points.