Which is it?
Well, let’s start with Rasmussen which had Democrat Terry McAuliffe leading GOP Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli by 17%, 50%-33%. That was a one day poll conducted on Sunday 10/20 of 1,000 Likely Voters. One day polls are notoriously volatile. Even more so when the Washington Redskins are playing and defeating the Chicago Bears in one of the highest scoring games of the season 45-41. Needless to say, it is likely that many Cuccinelli supporters wouldn’t be bothered to answer the phone on such a day.
What about Quinnipiac that has McAuliffe +8? This poll was of 1,085 Likely Voters and stretched for an entire week, 10/15-21. This is probably closest to the mark, but also includes the residual effects of the federal government shutdown.
And the dead heat McAuliffe +1 poll by Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies? That poll was conducted this Mon. and Tue., 10/21-22, and included 640 Likely Voters. Wenzel even weighted his results to reflect the Quinnipiac turnout model and found McAuliffe’s lead had shrunk to +5. McAuliffe’s overall edge in the Wenzel poll is due to him receiving stronger support within his party base – 81% of Democrats support McAuliffe, while only 68% of Republicans back Cuccinelli.
Wenzel isn’t some fly by night organization, either. He spent 25 years as a news and political reporter for the Portland Oregonian, the Toledo Blade, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspapers. In the past few years, he correctly detected in his polls the closing momentum for Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), and Deb Fischer (NE) in their primaries, among others.
So, if turnout is more along the lines of non-presidential election years and more like a Virginia gubernatorial year, things look much better for Cuccinelli. Furthermore, if Cuccinelli can coalesce the GOP base behind him, he can win this election just 12 days from now.
If you are a Republican and not yet supporting Cuccinelli and planning to go to the polls to vote for him on Election Day, ask yourself this — can you live with Terry McAuliffe as your governor for the next four years without being embarassed to be a Virginian?