10/18: McAuliffe Leads Cuccinelli by 8 Percentage Points in Virginia Governor’s Race

October 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Election 2013, Featured, Politics

In the contest for Virginia governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe receives the support of 46% of Virginia likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted by absentee ballot compared with 38% for his Republican challenger, Ken Cuccinelli.  Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis garners 9% of the vote while 1% backs another candidate.  Seven percent of Virginia likely voters are undecided.

Click Here for Complete October 18th, 2013 Virginia NBC4/NBC News/Marist Poll Release and Tables

“Just when Cuccinelli needed to start closing the gap against McAuliffe, the government shutdown became a huge roadblock,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “The big question is whether or not Cuccinelli can now overcome the damaged GOP brand and his own high negative rating to make the contest more competitive.”

When NBC4/NBC News/Marist last reported this question in September, McAuliffe — 43% — edged Cuccinelli — 38% — among likely voters statewide.  Sarvis had the support of 8% while 1% backed another candidate.  10%, at that time, were undecided.

Key points:

  • Party ID.  A wide partisan divide exists.  Most Democrats who are likely to vote — 88% — support McAuliffe while most Republicans likely to cast a ballot are for Cuccinelli — 83%.  This is little changed from last month when 89% of likely Democratic voters supported McAuliffe, and 83% of likely Republican voters were for Cuccinelli.  Among independent voters who are likely to vote, 41% are for McAuliffe while 33% are for Cuccinelli.  15% support Sarvis.  In September, the contest among independent voters was slightly closer.  36% of independent voters were behind McAuliffe while 34% backed Cuccinelli.  15%, at that time, supported Sarvis.
  • Gender.  A gender gap still exists.  McAuliffe — 52% — leads Cuccinelli — 32% — by double digits among women who are likely to vote.  However, among men who are likely to cast a ballot, Cuccinelli — 44% — edges McAuliffe — 40%.  Last month, McAuliffe — 50% — outpaced Cuccinelli — 32% — among women.  Among men, Cuccinelli — 44% — led McAuliffe — 36% — by eight percentage points.
  • Intensity of Support.  60% of likely voters with a candidate preference for Virginia governor say they strongly support their choice.  32% somewhat support their candidate, and 8% might vote differently.  Only 1% is unsure.  In NBC4/NBC News/Marist’s previous survey, similar proportions held these views.  59% of likely voters with a candidate preference for Virginia governor were firmly committed to their choice while 31% were somewhat behind him.  Nine percent said they might vote differently, and 1% was unsure.  Among Cucinelli’s supporters, 67% strongly support him while 57% of McAuliffe’s backers express a similar level of commitment to him.  In September, 60% of Cuccinelli’s supporters and 59% of McAuliffe’s backers said they would not waver in their commitment to their choice of candidate.

Among registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted by absentee ballot, McAuliffe still leads Cuccinelli.  44% are for McAuliffe while 36% are for Cuccinelli.  Sarvis has the support of 10% while 1% is for another candidate.  Nine percent are undecided.  In NBC4/NBC News/Marist’s previous poll, 41% of registered voters were for McAuliffe while 35% supported Cuccinelli.  Eight percent backed Sarvis, and 1% supported another candidate.  14%, at the time, were undecided.

How would the contest look without Sarvis?  Among Virginia likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted by absentee ballot, 52% support McAuliffe compared with 43% for Cuccinelli.  One percent is behind another candidate, and 4% are undecided.

Table: 2013 Gubernatorial Tossup (Virginia Likely Voters including Leaners and Absentees)

Table: Intensity of Support (Virginia Likely Voters with a Candidate Preference)

Table: 2013 Gubernatorial Tossup (Virginia Registered Voters including Leaners and Absentees)

Table: 2013 Gubernatorial Tossup without Sarvis (Virginia Registered Voters including Leaners and Absentees)

Tarnished Images? Voters Divide over McAuliffe… Cuccinelli with High Negatives 

While 40% of Virginia residents have a positive view of McAuliffe, 39% have an unfavorable impression of him.  21% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.  Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.  42% think well of McAuliffe while 41% have a lesser opinion of the candidate.  17% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.

Last month, 38% of Virginia residents had a favorable view of McAuliffe.  32% had an unfavorable opinion of him, and a notable 30% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.  Looking at registered voters, 41% had a positive opinion of McAuliffe while 34% had an unfavorable one.  26% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate McAuliffe.

A majority of Virginia residents — 51% — has an unfavorable view of Cuccinelli.  34% have a positive opinion of him, and 15% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.  Comparable portions of registered voters have these opinions.  53% of registered voters have a negative view of Cuccinelli while 36% have a positive one.  12% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.

In last month’s survey, 45% of adults statewide had an unfavorable opinion of Cuccinelli while 31% had a favorable one.  23%, at that time, had either never heard of Cuccinelli or were unsure how to rate him.  Among registered voters in Virginia, 47% had a lesser impression of Cuccinelli while 34% had a favorable view of him.  19% had either never heard of Cuccinelli or were unsure how to rate him.

Sarvis has become somewhat better-known to Virginians, but a majority — 56% — still has either never heard of Sarvis or is unsure how to rate him.  23% have a favorable opinion of him, and 21% have an unfavorable view of him.  Among registered voters, a similar 55% have either never heard of Sarvis or are unsure how to rate him.  23% of voters have a positive impression of the candidate while 22% have a negative one.

Last month, 66% of Virginia residents had either never heard of Sarvis or were unsure how to rate him.  20% had a favorable view of the candidate while 15% had an unfavorable impression of him.  Among registered voters, 63%, at that time, did not have a clear opinion of Sarvis.  This compares with 21% who thought well of him and 16% who had an unfavorable opinion of the candidate.

Table: McAuliffe Favorability (Virginia Adults)

Table: Cuccinelli Favorability (Virginia Adults)

Table: Sarvis Favorability (Virginia Adults)

Majority Places Responsibility for Shutdown on Republicans 

When it comes to who is mostly to blame for the government shutdown, a majority of Virginia adults — 53% — say the Republicans in Congress are more at fault.  This compares with 29% who put the onus on President Barack Obama.  15% think each is equally to blame while 3% are unsure.

Similar proportions of registered voters in Virginia have these views.  54% say the Republican members in Congress are to blame while 29% think President Obama is mostly responsible for the shutdown.  14% think the Republicans in Congress and the president equally share the blame while 3% are unsure.

By party, 88% of Democrats think the Republicans in Congress are mostly at fault.  This compares with 60% of Republicans who point the finger at President Obama.  17% of Republicans blame the members of their own party in Congress, and one in five Republicans — 20% — says both Obama and the Congressional GOP are to blame.

Tea Party support makes a difference among the GOP.  Among Republicans who are Tea Party supporters, nearly eight in ten — 78% — believe President Obama is to blame.  However, there is little consensus among Republicans who do not support the Tea Party.  While a plurality — 42% — places the responsibility on the president, a notable 28% blame the Republicans in Congress, and 26% fault both the president and the GOP in Congress.

Looking at independent voters, a majority — 54% — puts the onus on the GOP in Congress while 28% say President Obama is mostly to blame for the shutdown.  16% report both are equally responsible.

38% of Virginia registered voters say the government shutdown will have a major impact on their vote for governor while 21% think it will have a minor one.  39% say the shutdown is not an issue at all, and 2% are unsure.

By party, a plurality of Democrats — 44% — says the government shutdown will be a major issue in determining their gubernatorial vote while half of Republicans — 50% — report the shutdown is not an issue at all when it comes to casting their ballot.   But, Tea Party support again matters for Republicans.  A majority of Republicans who support the Tea Party — 55% — says the government shutdown is no issue at all when it comes to their vote.  This compares with a majority of Republicans who are not Tea Party supporters — 56% — who think the shutdown will be either a major or a minor issue when deciding for whom to vote.

Among independent voters, 40% think the shutdown is not an issue when it comes to picking their candidate.  This compares with 37% who say the shutdown is a major issue and 21% who believe it is a minor one.

How many Virginians have been affected by the federal government shutdown?  While 60% have not been impacted, a notable 39% say they or a member of their family have experienced changes to their employment status, services, or benefits.  One percent is unsure.  Identical proportions of registered voters in Virginia say the same.  60% have not been affected by the shutdown while 39% have felt the effects.  One percent of registered voters in Virginia is unsure.

Table: Who is More to Blame for the Government Shutdown (Virginia Adults)

Table: Whether the Government Shutdown is an Issue in Deciding Vote for Governor (Virginia Adults)

Table: Personal Impact of the Federal Government Shutdown (Virginia Adults) 

Damaged Brand?

The Republican Party is viewed negatively by many residents in Virginia.  61% of adults in the state have an unfavorable impression of the party.  32% have a favorable one, and 6% have either never heard of it or are unsure how to rate the Republican Party.  Among registered voters in the state, 62% have a negative view of the GOP while 32% have a positive one.  Five percent have either never heard of the GOP or are unsure how to rate it.

49% of Virginians view the Democratic Party unfavorably while 45% perceive it favorably.  Six percent have either never heard of the Democratic Party or are unsure how to rate it.  Looking at registered voters, 50% have a negative view of the Democratic Party while 45% have a positive one.  Five percent have either never heard of the party or are unsure how to rate it.

Table: Favorability of the Republican Party (Virginia Adults)

Table: Favorability of the Democratic Party (Virginia Adults)

Northam Edges Jackson in Contest for Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor

In the race for lieutenant governor, Democrat Ralph Northam receives the support of 48% of Virginia likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted by absentee ballot.  42% support Republican E.W. Jackson, and 1% mentions another candidate.  Nine percent are undecided.

When NBC4/NBC News/Marist reported this question last month, likely voters in Virginia divided.  44% supported Northam while 41% backed Jackson.  One percent was for another candidate, and 13% were undecided.

How strongly are likely voters committed to their choice of candidate for lieutenant governor?  Half of likely voters with a candidate preference — 50% — strongly support their choice.  38% are somewhat committed to their pick, and 12% might vote differently.  Only 1% is unsure.

In September, 46% of likely voters with a candidate preference for lieutenant governor said they were firmly committed to their choice.  41% were somewhat behind their pick, and 11% said they might change their minds before Election Day.  Two percent, at that time, were unsure.

Northam also has a six percentage point advantage among registered voters in Virginia including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted by absentee ballot.  47% support Northam while 41% are behind Jackson.  One percent supports another candidate, and 10% are undecided.  Last month, Northam had the backing of 42% of registered voters while 40% were for Jackson.  One percent supported another candidate, and 16% were undecided.

Table: 2013 Lieutenant Governor Tossup (Virginia Likely Voters including Leaners and Absentees)

Table: Intensity of Support for Virginia Lieutenant Governor (Virginia Likely Voters with a Candidate Preference)

Table: 2013 Lieutenant Governor Tossup (Virginia Registered Voters including Leaners and Absentees)

McDonnell Approval Rating Status Quo

A majority of adults in Virginia — 53% — approves of the job Governor Bob McDonnell is doing in office.  31% disapprove, and 16% are unsure.  Among registered voters in Virginia, 55% give McDonnell high marks.  32% say his performance has fallen short, and 13% are unsure.

There has been little change on this question since last month.  At that time, 51% of adults thought well of McDonnell’s job performance.  33% disapproved, and 16% were unsure.  A majority of registered voters in that previous survey — 55% — approved of McDonnell’s job performance.  33% disapproved, and 12% were unsure.

Looking at McDonnell’s favorability, 48% of adults statewide have a positive impression of McDonnell while 35% have an unfavorable one.  17% have either never heard of McDonnell or are unsure how to rate him.  Among registered voters, 49% view McDonnell favorably.  37% perceive him unfavorably, and 14% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.

In September, 49% of Virginia residents thought well of McDonnell while 32% did not.  19%, at that time, were unsure.   Among registered voters, 52% had a positive opinion of McDonnell while 33% had an unfavorable impression of the governor.  15%, then, had either never heard of McDonnell or were unsure how to rate him.

Table: Governor Bob McDonnell Approval Rating (Virginia Adults)

Table: Governor Bob McDonnell Favorability (Virginia Adults)

A State on Track?

While a majority of Virginians think the state is headed in the right direction, there has been a decline in the proportion of residents who have this opinion.  52% of adults statewide say the state is moving in the right direction while 42% think it is headed in the wrong one.  Six percent are unsure.  Registered voters reflect the views of residents overall.  53% of voters think Virginia is moving on the proper path while 41% say the state needs an alternate route.  Six percent are unsure.

In September’s poll, nearly six in ten adults — 58% — reported the state was on course.  This compares with 36% who said Virginia had fallen off the track.  Six percent, then, were unsure.  Among registered voters, 59% thought Virginia was on the correct path while 36% said it needed to be redirected.  Five percent, at that time, were unsure.

Table: Direction of Virginia (Virginia Adults)

Majority Disapproves of Obama’s Job Performance

52% of adults in Virginia disapprove of how President Obama is doing his job while 45% approve.  Four percent are unsure.  Among registered voters statewide, 53% disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance while 45% approve.  Three percent are unsure.

Last month, 48% of adults in Virginia gave the president high marks while 46% said his performance was not satisfactory.  Six percent, at that time, were unsure.  Looking at registered voters, 48% in September praised the president’s job performance while 47% thought it was lacking.  Five percent were unsure.

Is President Obama viewed favorably in Virginia?  He receives mixed reviews.  49% of residents have a positive opinion of the president while 48% have an unfavorable view of him.  Three percent have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.  The opinions of Virginia registered voters mirror those of residents, overall.  49% have a favorable view of President Obama while 49% have an unfavorable one.  Two percent have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate the president.

When NBC4/NBC News/Marist last reported this question, 52% of Virginians thought well of Mr. Obama while 45% had a negative impression of him.  Four percent had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.  At that time, 52% of registered voters perceived the president positively.  45% had an unfavorable impression of him, and 3% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.

Table: Obama Approval Rating (Virginia Adults)

Table: Obama Favorability (Virginia Adults)

From Politics to Football…More than Seven in Ten Want Redskins to Keep Name 

There has been much debate about whether or not the Washington Redskins should change their name.  While more than one in five adults in Virginia — 21% — think the team should find a different name because “Redskins” is offensive to Native Americans, 73% believe the name should remain because it is a part of the team’s tradition.  Six percent are unsure.  Fans of the team agree.  One in five — 20% — says the name should be changed while 78% want it to remain.  Two percent are unsure.

Table: Whether or Not the Name of the Washington Redskins Should be Changed (Virginia Adults)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

 

9/24: McAuliffe Edges Cuccinelli in Contest for Virginia Governor

September 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Election 2013, Featured, Politics

Democrat Terry McAuliffe narrowly leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the hotly contested race for Virginia governor.  Among likely voters in Virginia including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, McAuliffe receives 43% to 38% for Cuccinelli.  Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis garners 8% of the vote.  One percent supports another candidate, and 10% are undecided.

When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in May, Cuccinelli — 45% — and McAuliffe — 42% — were in a virtual dead heat among likely voters including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Less than 1% supported another candidate, and 13% were undecided.

Click Here for Complete September 24th, 2013 Virginia NBC4/NBC News/Marist Poll Release and Tables

POLL MUST BE SOURCED:  NBC4/NBC News/Marist Poll

“None of the candidates has reached a comfort level with voters,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Look no further than how voters compare the candidates on key issues.  With the exception of social issues, no one breaks 40% on any area of concern to voters.”

Key points:

  • Party ID.  89% of likely voters who are Democrats support McAuliffe while 83% of Republicans are for Cuccinelli.  Among independent voters in Virginia, the candidates are in a close contest.  36% back McAuliffe while 34% are for Cuccinelli.  Sarvis receives 15% of independents, 5% of Republicans, and 2% of Democrats.
  • Gender.  There is a gender gap.  Half of women who are likely to vote — 50% — support McAuliffe while 32% are behind Cuccinelli.  However, Cuccinelli leads among men with 44% compared with 36% for McAuliffe.
  • Intensity of Support.  A majority of likely voters with a candidate preference — 59% — says they strongly support their choice of candidate for governor.  31% are somewhat behind their selection while 9% might vote differently.  One percent is unsure.  59% of those who are behind McAuliffe are strongly committed to their choice of candidate for governor.  This compares with 60% of Cuccinelli’s supporters who have the same level of support for him.

Among registered voters in Virginia including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 41% support McAuliffe, 35% are for Cuccinelli, and 8% back Sarvis.  One percent wants another candidate to be elected, and 14% are undecided.  In that previous survey, registered voters divided.  43% backed McAuliffe, 41% were for Cuccinelli, 1% supported another candidate, and 16% were undecided.

Table: 2013 Gubernatorial Tossup (Virginia Likely Voters including Leaners)

Table: Intensity of Support (Virginia Likely Voters with a Candidate Preference)

Table: 2013 Gubernatorial Tossup (Virginia Registered Voters including Leaners)

Cuccinelli’s Favorable Rating Slides… McAuliffe Still Unknown to Three in Ten

Cuccinelli’s favorable rating is now upside down.  45% of Virginia residents have an unfavorable view of him while 31% have a favorable impression of the candidate.  23% have either never heard of Cuccinelli or are unsure how to rate him.  Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.  47% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Cuccinelli while 34% have a favorable one.  19% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.

In NBC News/Marist’s May survey, Cuccinelli’s rating was right side up.  Four in ten Virginia adults — 40% — had a positive view of Cuccinelli.  26% had an unfavorable one, and 34% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.  Among registered voters, 42%, at that time, thought highly of Cuccinelli, 27% had a lesser opinion of him, and 32% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.

When it comes to McAuliffe, 38% of Virginia residents have a favorable impression of him.  32% have an unfavorable one, and a notable 30% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.  Among registered voters statewide, 41% think well of McAuliffe, 34% have a negative view of him, and 26% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.

In the spring, McAuliffe was even less-known to Virginia residents.  While 31% had a positive opinion of the candidate and 23% had an unfavorable impression of him, a plurality — 46% — had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.  Among registered voters, 32%, at that time, viewed McAuliffe favorably.  24% had an unfavorable opinion of him, and 44% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.

How does Sarvis fare in the realm of public opinion?  The candidate is not well-known to most Virginians.  66% of adults statewide have either never heard of Sarvis or are unsure how to rate him.  20% have a favorable view of him, and 15% have an unfavorable impression of him.  Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.  63% of voters have either never heard of or are unsure how to rate Sarvis.  21% have a positive opinion of him, and 16% have a negative view of him.

Table: Cuccinelli Favorability (Virginia Adults)

Table: McAuliffe Favorability (Virginia Adults)

Table: Sarvis Favorability (Virginia Adults)

The Impact of Controversy

The McAuliffe and Cuccinelli campaigns have had to address controversies surrounding their candidates.  How have these controversies affected Virginians’ opinions of the candidates?

When it comes to McAuliffe’s past work at the automotive company Green Tech, about six in ten residents — 61% — do not know enough about the situation to form an opinion.  16% say McAuliffe’s association with the company has fostered a more negative opinion of the candidate while 2% say it makes them feel more positively toward him.  About one in five — 21% — report it has not impacted their view of McAuliffe.  Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.

Looking at Cuccinelli’s association with Star Scientific and its CEO, Jonnie Williams, a plurality — 47% — says they don’t know enough about the connection to form an opinion.  Nearly three in ten — 28% — report they have a more negative attitude toward the candidate while just 2% say it has positively affected their opinion of him.  About one in four residents — 24% — says it has not had much of an impact on their view of Cuccinelli.  Again, similar proportions of registered voters have these opinions.

Table: Impact of Terry McAuliffe’s Association with Green Tech (Virginia Adults)

Table: Impact of Ken Cuccinelli’s Association with Star Scientific (Virginia Adults)

Ideologically Speaking

When it comes to McAuliffe’s political views, about four in ten adults in Virginia — 39% — believe his ideology is about right.  29% think he is too liberal, and only 7% say he is too conservative.  A notable 25% are unsure.

When NBC News/Marist reported this question last spring, 32% of residents reported his ideology was about right.  27% said he was too liberal while 5% thought he was too conservative.  36%, at that time, were unsure.

A plurality of adults statewide — 37% — thinks Cuccinelli is too conservative.  32% report his ideology is about right, and only 9% say he is too liberal.  About one in five — 21% — is unsure about Cuccinelli’s political views.

In May, 38% considered Cuccinelli’s political views to be about right.  This compares with 25% who said he was too conservative, 6% who thought he was too liberal, and 31% who were unsure.

Table: McAuliffe Ideology (Virginia Adults)

Table: Cuccinelli Ideology (Virginia Adults)

Issues and Image: McAuliffe Bests Cuccinelli on Most… Candidates Closer on Trust, Business, and Experience

When it comes to issues and candidate qualities, how do Virginians view the gubernatorial candidates?

  • A plurality of residents — 44% — says McAuliffe comes closer to their views on social issues such as abortion.  This compares with 26% who report Cuccinelli better reflects their views.  Five percent think neither of the candidates identifies with their personal views on social issues, and less than 1% of residents believe both candidates share their opinion.  24% are unsure.   In May, there was little consensus.  31% thought Cuccinelli aligned with their personal position on social issues while 30% had this view of McAuliffe.  One percent said both reflected their views while 4% reported neither identified with their views on social issues.  34%, at that time, were unsure.
  • Nearly four in ten adults — 38% — think McAuliffe cares more about the middle class while 29% have this view of Cuccinelli.  One percent believes both candidates have the best interests of the middle class in mind while 10% think neither cares about the middle class.  22% are unsure.  In that previous survey, residents divided.  30% thought Cuccinelli cared more about the middle class while 29% had this impression of McAuliffe.  One percent reported both candidates were concerned about middle class residents while 6% said neither candidate was concerned.  34% were unsure.
  • 39% of residents in Virginia think McAuliffe shares their values while 31% believe Cuccinelli does.  One percent says both candidates reflect their core principles while 10% report neither does.  19% are unsure.  When NBC News/Marist last reported this question, 34% said Cuccinelli shared their values.  This compares with 28% who had this impression of McAuliffe at that time.  One percent reported both candidates represented their ideals while 6% said neither did.  31%, then, were unsure.
  • Which candidate better understands residents’ problems?  39% think McAuliffe is the candidate who can better relate to the problems facing Virginians.  This compares with 33% who have this view of Cuccinelli.  Less than 1% of residents say both candidates can identify with the average person in Virginia while 10% report neither can relate to their problems.  18% are unsure.  In May, there was no consensus.  About one-third — 33% — said Cuccinelli better understood residents’ problems.  29% thought McAuliffe could better relate to the issues confronting residents of Virginia.  Less than 1% said both candidates understood residents’ challenges while 7% reported neither could empathize with them.  31% were unsure.
  • Which candidate for governor do residents trust more to do what’s best for Virginia?  39% choose McAuliffe, and 34% have confidence in Cuccinelli.  Less than 1% of Virginians believe both candidates will improve the state while 10% trust neither.  16% are unsure.  In May, Cuccinelli — 37% — edged McAuliffe — 31% — on this question.  Less than 1% trusted both candidates while 5% had confidence in neither candidate.  26% were unsure.
  • However, when it comes to the candidate who would be better for business in Virginia, 37% think Cuccinelli is the man for the job while 35% have this opinion of McAuliffe.  Less than 1% of residents say both candidates can help bolster business in Virginia while 6% think neither candidate can handle the issue.  22% are unsure.
  • When it comes to the candidate who has the experience to be governor, 38% think Cuccinelli has the necessary experience while 34% say the same about McAuliffe.  Two percent think both candidates have the know-how to be governor while 7% say neither is prepared to assume the role.  20% are unsure.

Table: Candidate that is Closer on Social Issues (Virginia Adults)

Table: Candidate that Cares More About the Middle Class (Virginia Adults)

Table: Candidate that Shares Values (Virginia Adults)

Table: Candidate that Better Understands Problems (Virginia Adults)

Table: Candidate Trusted More to do What’s Best for Virginia (Virginia Adults)

Table: Candidate that is Better for Business (Virginia Adults)

Table: Candidate that Has the Experience to be Governor (Virginia Adults)

Majority Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Where do Virginians stand on the issue of same-sex marriage?  55% of adults statewide favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into same-sex marriage.  This includes 36% who strongly support gay marriage.  37% oppose same-sex marriage which includes 10% who strongly oppose it.  Eight percent are unsure.

Table: Favor or Oppose Same-Sex Marriage (Virginia Adults)

Northam and Jackson Neck and Neck in Lieutenant Governor’s Contest

In the race for Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Democrat Ralph Northam receives the support of 44% of likely Virginia voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Republican E.W. Jackson has the support of 41% while 1% backs another candidate.  13% are undecided.

How strongly do likely voters with a candidate preference support their choice of candidate for lieutenant governor?  46% are firmly committed to their choice of candidate.  41% say they somewhat support their selection while 11% might vote differently.  Two percent are unsure.  Among likely voters who back Northam, 47% strongly support him.  This compares with 44% of Jackson’s backers who are firmly committed to him.

Among registered voters statewide, 42% are for Northam while 40% are for Jackson.  One percent supports another candidate, and 16% are undecided.

Table: 2013 Lieutenant Governor Tossup (Virginia Likely Voters including Leaners)

Table: Intensity of Support for Virginia Lieutenant Governor (Virginia Likely Voters with a Candidate Preference)

Table: 2013 Lieutenant Governor Tossup (Virginia Registered Voters including Leaners)

More than One in Four Voters Undecided in Attorney General’s Race

Among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Democrat Mark Herring has the support of 39% in the contest for attorney general.  This compares with 34% for Republican Mark Obenshain.  One percent backs another candidate seeking the office, and 26% are undecided.

42% of likely voters with a candidate preference for attorney general strongly support their choice.  40% are somewhat committed to their candidate selection while 16% might vote differently.  One percent is unsure.  Among those who back Herring, 43% are firmly behind him.  A similar proportion of Obenshain backers — 42% — has this level of support for their candidate for attorney general.

Among registered voters in Virginia including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 38% support Herring.  32% back Obenshain, and 2% are for another candidate.  A notable 28% are undecided.

Table: 2013 Virginia Attorney General Tossup (Virginia Likely Voters including Leaners)

Table: Intensity of Support for Virginia Attorney General (Virginia Likely Voters with a Candidate Preference)

Table: 2013 Virginia Attorney General Tossup (Virginia Registered Voters including Leaners)

McDonnell’s Approval Rating Declines, Yet He Remains Popular

51% of Virginians approve of the job Governor Bob McDonnell is doing in office.  33% disapprove, and 16% are unsure.  55% of registered voters statewide think highly of McDonnell’s job performance while 33% disapprove.  12% are unsure.

There has been a drop in the proportions of Virginia residents and registered voters who approve of how McDonnell is performing his job.  When NBC News/Marist reported this question in May, 60% of residents had a positive view of how McDonnell was doing in office while 22% disapproved.  At that time, 18% were unsure.  Among registered voters, 61% approved of how the governor was doing in his role while 24% disapproved.  15% were unsure.

McDonnell’s favorability rating has also suffered.  49% of adults in Virginia have a favorable view of McDonnell.  32% have an unfavorable one, and 19% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.  52% of registered voters think well of McDonnell.  33% have a lesser view of him, and 15% are unsure.

In May, 58% had a favorable opinion of Governor McDonnell.  23% had a negative impression of him, and 19% were unsure.  Among registered voters in Virginia, 60% had a positive opinion of McDonnell.  24% had an unfavorable one, and 16% were unsure.

McDonnell is limited to one term in office, but if he could run for a second term, 47% of registered voters would support his re-election bid while 42% would back McAuliffe.  Two percent would cast their ballot for another candidate, and 9% are undecided.  In that previous survey, a majority of registered voters — 51% — said they would back McDonnell in a race for governor.  This compares with 36% who reported they would support McAuliffe.  One percent was for another candidate, and 12% were undecided.

Table: Governor Bob McDonnell Approval Rating (Virginia Adults)

Table: Governor Bob McDonnell Favorability (Virginia Adults)

Table: Hypothetical 2013 Tossup McAuliffe/McDonnell (Virginia Registered Voters)

Nearly Six in Ten Think State is Moving in the Right Direction

58% of Virginians think the state is on the right course.  36% believe it is on the wrong one, and 6% are unsure.  Among registered voters statewide, 59% say Virginia is traveling along the proper path while 36% say it needs a new direction.  Five percent are unsure.

In May, 60% of adults thought the state’s trajectory was correct.  This compares with 33% who said Virginia needed a new path.  Seven percent were unsure.  Among registered voters, 61% said Virginia was moving in the right direction, 32% believed it was traveling in the wrong direction, and 7% were unsure.

Table: Direction of Virginia (Virginia Adults)

Virginia Residents Divide over Obama’s Job Performance

Nearly half of Virginia residents — 48% — approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office.  46% disapprove, and 6% are unsure.  Similarly, 48% of registered voters have a positive view of the president’s job performance.  47% of voters disapprove, and 5% are unsure.

In NBC News/Marist’s May survey, a slim majority of adults — 51% — gave the president high marks.  45% believed he fell short, and 4% were unsure.

When it comes to President Obama’s favorability rating, a majority of adults — 52% — has a positive impression of the president.  45% have an unfavorable opinion of Obama, and 4% are unsure.  Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.

There has been little change on this question since May when 53% of adults statewide had a favorable view of President Obama.  43% had an unfavorable one, and 3% were unsure.

Table: Obama Approval Rating (Virginia Adults)

Table: Obama Favorability (Virginia Adults)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample