Bottom Falls Out For Cuccinelli

Two weeks from Election Day in Virginia, most observers are getting very comfortable with the idea that Terry McAuliffe will overcome the powerful myth that the party controlling the White House always loses gubernatorial races in the Commonwealth (based on the outcomes of the last nine contests) and beat Republican Ken Cuccinelli, mainly because of Cooch’s extremism but aided by a backlash against the government shutdown engineered by his partisan and ideological friends up the road in D.C.

But today’s Rasmussen poll from Virginia is still startling: it shows T-Mac opening up a 17 point lead on Cooch (50/33, with 8% for Libertarian Robert Sarvis). This is a poll of likely voters, BTW, so it shows a race not terribly vulnerable to surprising turnout patterns.

Rasmussen’s last poll of this race a month ago had McAuliffe up 44/38, so the latest finding reflects a clear shift of support from one candidate to the other.

If you wonder if this latest survey might be an outlier, you can look at a survey from the robopollster at the other end of the partisan spectrum, Public Policy Polling, which has found McAuliffe leading among early voters by a very similar 57/39 margin.

In what most people expected to be a very close, “polarized” race between two not terribly popular pols, Cuccinelli is looking mighty toasty.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.