Republicans and Democrats operatives agree that Ken Cuccinelli is heading to a resounding defeat in next week’s Virginia governor’s race, potentially by a double-digit margin to Terry McAuliffe. But the new Washington Post/Abt-SRBI poll, consistent with other reputable statewide surveys, shows just how grim things have gotten for the state Attorney General.
— Terry McAuliffe, despite his reputation, ends the campaign well-liked. A clear majority of likely Virginia voters (53%) view him favorably, with 44% viewing him unfavorably. A 55% majority are satisfied with the field. Few of the damaging stories about McAuliffe’s business record stuck. By a 9-point margin, McAuliffe is seen as “more honest and trustworthy.” And Cuccinelli, in part because of his troubled relations with the GOP-leaning business community, has been badly outraised and unable to drive home a sustained, anti-McAuliffe message on the airwaves.
— The federal government shutdown doomed Cuccinelli’s campaign. Over two-thirds of voters said the issue was important to them, with 55% declaring it “very important.” A whopping 82% of Virginians disapprove of the government shutdown, including 68% of Republicans. Just over half blame Republicans in Congress, and over one-third said they were inconvenienced by the shutdown. (In fact, slightly more Republicans than Democrats in Virginia are employed by the federal government, per the survey.)
— Libertarian Robert Sarvis isn’t a spoiler. Sarvis, who polls at 8%, is at least taking as many votes from McAuliffe than from Cuccinelli. Polled on who their second choice would be, 53% of Sarvis supporters would back McAuliffe, with 42% supporting Cuccinelli. (It’s a small subsample, but other surveys also point to a fairly even split.)
As NJ‘s Beth Reinhard first reported, things have gotten so bad that GOP efforts and money are now concentrating on saving the one salvageable downballot race — the state AG contest. “This should have been a slam dunk. Virginia almost always votes against the president’s party,” former Virginia GOP congressman Tom Davis told The Hotline. “Republicans need to ask what’s wrong with our business model here.”
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The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona
Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.