Forget the Warner part, as from everything I hear, he’s not going to be a candidate for governor next year (note that only 18% of Virginians want Warner to run in 2013). Instead, let’s focus on who the Democratic gubernatorial candidate is actually going to be – Terry McAuliffe. On that front, the news is generally good: McAuliffe tops Bill Bolling by 2 points (38%-36%) among Virginia registered voters (RVs) and bests Ken Kookinelli by 4 points (41%-37%). Of course, these results are among RVs, and usually what happens in off-year elections in Virginia is that the Democratic base tends to show up in relatively lower numbers than the Republican base, compared to presidential years. That’s why Virginia’s becoming a “blue” state in presidential years, but is still a “purple” state in gubernatorial years and a “red” state in off-off election years (e.g., 2015). Thus, the key for Democrats in 2013 will be to motivate their base to turn out in far larger numbers than we saw in 2009, when the Deeds campaign took the base for granted and hunkered down in “Deeds Country” (which they lost badly regardless – brilliant strategy, huh?).
Other findings from the poll that jumped out at me include:
*The vast majority (68%) of Virginians say they “haven’t heard enough” of Terry McAuliffe to have a “favorable” or “unfavorable” view. As a political junkie, that once again reminds me that I am not “normal,” in that most Virginians don’t pay a great deal of attention to politics. We’ll see what happens as Virginians become better acquainted with T-Mac, who presumably will be introduced in large part by the highly popular Bill Clinton.
*Also, despite the fact that he’s our state’s Attorney General, and also has been EXTREMELY (in both senses of that word) high profile, with his lawsuits against “Obamacare,” UVA, etc., Ken Cuccinelli is STILL an unknown quantity by 45% of Virginians. We’ll see what millions of dollars in advertising letting people know what a far-far-far-right-wing extremist this guy is will do to that number.
*Almost nobody knows who Bill Bolling is, which is not surprising, given how irrelevant he is. I mean, if the Vice Presidency of the United States was once compared to a bucket of warm spit (actually, it was another bodily fluid…yellowish in color), how about the equivalent in Virginia? LOL
*As usual, Mark Warner is by far the most popular politician in Virginia (60%-25%, +35 points approval rating). In contrast, Jim Webb has just a 44%-28% (+16 points) approval rating. My guess is that this is mostly about Warner getting out and around Virginia, while Webb mostly avoids doing so. In terms of their voting records, they’re not much different.
*Virginians like Barack Obama, giving him a 52%-44% approval rating. Who doesn’t like Obama? Basically, old, white, married, male, born-again/evangelicals. Who likes Obama? Basically everyone else.
*It is utterly absurd that only 29% of Virginians disapprove of Ken Cuccinelli’s handling of his job as AG. That number should be 100%, frankly, just on his witch hunt against climate scientist Michael Mann, let alone on his other wild goose chases and failures.
*Finally, Virginians are optimistic about the next four years with Barack Obama as president, but do NOT trust Republicans in Congress to “make a good faith effort to cooperate with President Obama and the Democrats on issues that are important to you.” My fellow Virginians are absolutely right about that one!