Voters as a whole appear to know little about the candidates' stance on same-sex marriage as 80 percent of voters said they don't know Kaine's view and 74 percent said they don't know Allen's view.
Allen is against same-sex marriage. Kaine has changed his position over time. During his 2005 run for governor, he opposed same-sex marriage but now backs "relationship equality
" without saying definitively whether he supports the term "marriage" being used to legally define unions of same-sex couples.
The polling results of the gubernatorial primary, which Quinnipiac has not tested prior to now, are more surprising than the close-as-expected Senate race. Cuccinelli not only has higher name recognition among Republicans, which is in line with past polling, but also a positive job-approval spread of 17 percentage points among all registered voters.
Meanwhile, the more establishment-friendly Bolling polls 20 percent or less in every Republican demographic group tested by Quinnipiac. Cuccinelli is above 40 percent in each. Bolling's campaign is privately banking on the idea that the few moderates that turn out in a GOP primary would overwhelming support the lieutenant governor, yet the poll finds he gains an identical share of 15 percent of the vote from both conservative and moderate Republicans.
Self-identified members of the Tea Party back Cuccinelli by a 67 percent to 8 percent margin while those who are not part of the movement give Cuccinelli a 46 percent to 18 percent advantage. He leads by 35 percent among men and keeps Bolling at only 9 percent of the vote among women while pulling 46 percent himself. Republican women are more undecided about the candidates then men: 41 percent of female voters are undecided, compared to 23 percent for male voters.
The poll does suggest Democrats are less ardent in their opposition to Bolling (27 approve, 28 disapprove) than they are to Cuccinelli (28/45) while independents give Bolling a better spread too.
Overall, these numbers suggest that Bolling may want to reconsider his blanket opposition to the state Republican Party holding a nominating convention instead of a primary if his name identification and positive numbers do not rise dramatically before next year.
Conventional wisdom dictates that Cuccinelli's supporters are more likely to sign up and attend a convention than Bolling's. The poll numbers suggest Bolling would be a heavy underdog in a primary, but he can hold out hope that his showing among more likely voters will increase over time.
Party activists are set to reconsider the idea during a June 15 committee meeting after previously voting for a primary last year.
Bolling has the endorsement of Gov. Bob McDonnell
, who sports a 53 percent approval rating -- including 82 percent among Republicans -- compared to 36 percent for the lieutenant governor. Bolling is also Mitt Romney
's Virginia campaign chairman.