Sunday, 03 Nov 2013 08:53 AM
By John Gizzi
Democrat Terry McAuliffe continues to gain momentum in the race for governor of Virginia and, with 48 hours to go before the balloting, a just-completed Newsmax/Zogby Poll showed him with his biggest lead so far over Republican Ken Cuccinelli at 12 percentage points.
According to Zogby, McAuliffe, former Democratic National chairman, now leads Cuccinelli, state attorney general, by a margin of 44 percent to 32 percent statewide, with 10 percent going to Libertarian Robert Sarvis, 3 percent for other candidates, and 12 percent undecided.
A day earlier, Zogby found McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli but by a smaller margin, 43 percent to 36 percent.
Among voters who are "firmly decided" at this point, McAuliffe holds an even stronger lead of 50 percent to 36 percent and Sarvis has 11 percent.
Zogby's figures point to strong last-minute momentum for McAuliffe and the nightmare of Old Dominion State Republicans perhaps coming true. Sarvis may reach what Libertarians call "the magic 10 percent" of the vote Tuesday and, under state election law, give the Libertarian Party an automatic line on the Virginia ballot for the next three election cycles.
While third-party candidates have historically faded in the closing days of the campaign, Zogby's polling indicates this is not the case with Sarvis. The latest survey found Sarvis continuing to hold firm and clearly at Cuccinelli's expense.
Among Virginia voters who consider themselves "independent," Sarvis draws a strong 20 percent, with McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli among the same group 52 percent to 26 percent. Sarvis also gets 12 percent among voters who consider themselves Republicans. Virginia has no registration by party.
In recent days, both major party candidates have taken pains to rally their respective bases of support. McAuliffe, whose closing campaign events featured Bill and Hillary Clinton, draws 89 percent among voters who consider themselves Democrats, Zogby found. Among Republicans, Zogby's research found a smaller number – 77 percent – in Cuccinelli's camp.
The latest Zogby figures appear to confirm the increasing fear Newsmax has found among Republican Party activists in Virginia of a Democratic tidal wave. One Republican activist in Northern Virginia who requested anonymity told us "if Cuccinelli and [lieutenant governor nominee] E.W. Jackson are going down big, it will be hard for [attorney general nominee] Mark Obenschain to win the other statewide race. And we could lose from six-to-nine Northern Virginia seats in the House of Delegates."