Les Smith Reports: New ODU poll shows McAuliffe with a slight lead

Posted at 7:13 PM, Oct 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-23 21:51:36-04

Norfolk, Va. - ODU released a new poll Wednesday on the governor's race. It's a real glimpse into the minds of voters.

Researchers interviewed 627 likely voters. They asked not only about the candidates but about how they felt about 20 important issues.

The results show Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a seven percentage point lead. McAuliffe's support is at just over 44 percent, while Republican Ken Cuccinelli stands at just under 37 percent.

ODU's Dr. Jesse Richman conducted the poll.

"I'm pretty confident that we're seeing a lead for McAuliffe that is big enough that this isn't just statistical sampling. That's unlikely," he says.

The poll also showed support for the third party candidate, Libertarian Robert Sarvis at around 7 percent. Less than some other recent polls, but a strong number for a third party candidate in Virginia.

He pulls more support away from Cuccinelli than McAuliffe, but does even better with independents.

"Principally from those people who are disenchanted, people who are not affiliated with either party and that seems to be a growing portion of the electorate," Dr. Richman says.

The ODU poll went beyond the horse race and looked at issues.

Number one on voters' minds is transportation. More than half approve of the transportation deal approved this year by the general assembly, while less than thirty percent are against it.

McAuliffe supports it. Cuccinelli does not.

"It's kind of ironic that this was a deal that was worked out by the Republican governor but has been embraced by the Democratic candidate and opposed by the Republican candidate in this race," Dr. Richman says.

In response to the ODU poll, the Cuccinelli campaign points out there are enough undecided voters and people who support Sarvis but could switch to swing the results their way.