Home 2013 races Top Takeaways from the New UMW and Hampton University Polls

Top Takeaways from the New UMW and Hampton University Polls

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There are a couple new polls out this morning, one from the University of Mary Washington (poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International) and the other by Hampton University.

*Both polls have Terry McAuliffe leading Ken Cuccinelli; UMW by 7 points (42%-35%) among “likely voters” (LVs) and 10 points (43%-33%) among “registered voters” (RVs); Hampton University by 5 points (42%-37%) among LVs.

*In both polls, Libertarian Robert Sarvis is clocking in at around 8%-10% support. The Hampton University poll has Sarvis drawing 58% from Independents, 22% from Democrats, and 21% from Republicans. If this poll is accurate, it implies that Sarvis isn’t really helping or hurting either McAuliffe or Cuccinelli – basically the “Sarvis Effect” is a wash. I’m not sure other polls show this, however.

*The killer number for Ken Cuccinelli is in the UMW poll, which has his unfavorability rating at 52% (!) among LVs (note: Cuccinelli’s “unfavorable” number is also awful, 47%, in the Hampton University poll). How do you win an election when more than half the LVs view you unfavorably (compared to just 35% who view McAuliffe unfavorably)? Got me.

*The LG and AG races continue to be pretty much terra incognito, with around 60%-70% of LVs saying they never even HEARD of the candidates in these contests. That’s just astounding to me – how can a “likely voter” in an election in just 5 weeks not even have HEARD OF the statewide candidates on the ballot? On the other hand, when you look at the relatively tiny audience for political news (legacy OR social media), debates, forums, etc., and when you look at the thin (to be charitable) coverage of these races by the “dead-tree” folks, perhaps it’s not as astounding. Still, it’s pathetic in my opinion, that citizens in a representative democracy – LIKELY voters no less! – are so clueless, just a few weeks before the election.

*Given the almost complete lack of knowledge of the LG and AG candidates, I’d say the “top line,” head-to-head poll numbers are pretty much worthless. If you care, UMW has Northam up 4 points among LVs and 8 points among RVs. The Hampton University poll has Northam DOWN by 1 point, which I find extremely hard to believe. As for the AG race, UMW has Mark Herring up 2 points among RVs, but down 6 points among LVs (Hampton University’s poll has Herring down 4 points). To the extent these results have any meaning at all – and again, I’m dubious that they do – it emphasizes the need for Democrats to GET OUT AND VOTE on November 5.

One last point I’d make to progressive and/or pro-Democratic readers of this blog about Robert Sarvis. Yes, the guy’s fine (although no better than Terry McAuliffe) on “social issues” like LGBT equality and a woman’s right to choose. The problem is, he’s not good at all from a Democratic perspective on: 1) the environment and energy (e.g., he opposes regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and also opposed any state incentives, like a Renewable Portfolio Standard, to jump start wind, solar, and other clean energy); 2) campaign finance and government reform (e.g., he opposes ANY limits on contributions to state candidates); 3) guns (e.g., he OPPOSES closing the “gun show loophole” and opposes ANY restrictions on guns at all); 4) voting rights (e.g., he SUPPORTS photo ID requirements); 5) health care (e.g., he opposes the Affordable Care Act and favors “returning health-care regulation to the states”); 6) education (e.g., he’s huge on “vouchers,” charter schools, and generally defunding public education); and 7) the budget (he would blow a HUGE hole in Virginia’s budget and most likely decimate our AAA bond rating with his plan to slash taxes with no serious plan to replace the lost revenues). Other than that, Sarvis ROCKS (not)!