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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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."