Election 2013: Virginia’s tightening Governor’s race
Sure, there aren’t many meaningful elections during these in-between years prior to the midterms and before the next presidential election, however, Virginia and New Jersey will be heading to the polls on Tuesday, November 5. In the case of New Jersey, it appears Governor Chris Christie has a total lock with most polls showing his lead at anywhere from 20 to 30 points.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, where Governors are limited to a single term, the gubernatorial race is tightening and may prove to be a nail-biter on Tuesday evening. Report from RealClearPolitics:
When a new poll of Virginia voters this week found a tight gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, it seemed like an outlier. For the past few weeks, surveys in the Old Dominion have shown the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee leading by a comfortable margin, and sometimes by double digits. (The RCP Average has him ahead by 7.5 points.) Such numbers should have been reassuring for McAuliffe, given Virginia’s habit of choosing its governor from the opposing party of the president.
But a four-point race — the margin that Quinnipiac (which has a slightly lower sample of Democrats than other polls) found this week — might actually be right where Democrats want it heading into the weekend before Election Day. It’s also where both sides figured the contest would be in this purple state.
For Democrats, a tight race could help mobilize key Obama-coalition members (African-Americans, Latinos and young voters) who are integral to Democrats’ hopes of gaining an off-year win in the commonwealth. And for Republicans, a close race could wake up some of their sleepy constituents too.
Democrats emailed supporters on Thursday after the poll surfaced, portraying a high-stakes scenario that called for cash and turnout. “It’s a dead heat,” the email read. “. . . We’ll all be kicking ourselves if we fall short on our opportunity to defeat Ken Cuccinelli and stamp out the Tea Party in Virginia and elsewhere.”
Most polls taken have shown Clinton money-man Terry McAuliffe with a decent lead throughout most of September and October but polls in recent days show a tightening of the race. The lead for McAuliffe now varies from 2 to 10 points depending on the pollster and the sampling used. In these off-year elections, Virginia tends to tilt Republican as witnessed in 2009 when current Governor Bob McDonnell won by 17 points. What happens on Election Day will be anyone’s guess and will depend mostly on turnout which could be around 35% if most estimates hold true. For comparison, in 2012, 70% of eligible Virginia voters cast a ballot which illustrates the lack of interest in the off years.