|By far his highest profile campaign surrogate, Hillary Clinton's widespread popularity may indeed help McAuliffe to put it away next week. And more than a few DC journalists have reported that the McAuliffe '13 campaign serves the dual purpose of being a test run Hillary's old inner circle. A.P. photo.|
For anyone trying to get a handle on the state of the Virginia Governor's race with just a week to go, today was not the best day to tune in. No less than SIX polling firms have released new numbers since Tuesday, all without a lot in common. Though one overiding theme is present in all of them: Ken Cuccinelli is losing.
In fact, McAuliffe has led his opponent in the last 32 consecutive polls. But agreement on who is winning is where the similarities stop. Consider the small table below, which groups all five recent surveys into one chart:
The Democrat leads by anywhere from a 4-pt to 15-pt spread, with McAuliffe ranging between 42-51% of the vote, Cuccinelli 33-41%, and Sarvis 8-12%.
So take your pick, right?
The problem for Republicans, however, is no matter how you mix and match those polling numbers, there just isn't a winning scenario for Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe's worst performance (42% in the Hampton poll) is still better than Cuccinelli's best (41% in the Quinnipiac poll).
Digressing back to the recent poll variation; the trajectory of the race is hard to decipher not simply because of the topline result, but because of divergent trendlines as well. The Washington Post and Roanoke College polls seem to think the ground is crumbling beneath the Republican nominee. In mid-September, McAuliffe led Cuccinelli 47-39%. That lead grew to 51-39% five weeks later. Roanoke found a similar trend, though to a greater extent. Just 3 weeks ago, the local Virginia pollster found the Democrat up against the Republican and Libertarian, 41-36-9%. He's now at 48-33-10%.