A poll released by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday shows that Republican Ken Cuccinelli has narrowed the gap with Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe from seven points to three points. The poll of 1,005 likely Virginia voters conducted between September 9 and 15 shows that McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli by 44% to 41%. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis has the support of 7% of likely voters.
The new results indicate that momentum in the race may be swinging towards Cuccinelli. They are especially encouraging for Cuccinelli’s supporters since the three point gap is within the poll’s 3.1% margin of error. This means that the two candidates are effectively tied with less than two months to go until the election.
McAuliffe, who has outspent Cuccinelli by almost a two to one margin so far, has hit his opponent hard in television advertisements focusing on Cuccinelli’s positions on social issues for the past several months. While those ads have driven up Cuccinelli’s negatives, they appear to have reached a point of diminishing returns for the McAuliffe campaign.
McAuliffe’s negatives, in contrast, continue to rise, especially in light of the ever increasing number of scandals coming to light in organizations that he recently headed. The most recent scandal, which the Washington Post broke on September 11, involves a scheme to circumvent federal election laws to the tune of $608,750. The apparently illegal expenditures were funded by a well connected District of Columbia government contractor, Jeffrey E. Thompson, in support of the 2008 Hillary Clinton for President campaign, which McAuliffe chaired.
This latest scandal is in addition to two other investigations launched over the summer into the business activities of GreenTech Automotive, an electric vehicle startup manufacturer where McAuliffe served as chairman from 2010 to 2012. In July, the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Homeland Security announced an investigation into possible improprieties involved in the granting of visas to Chinese national investors in GreenTech Automotive. In August, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced an investigation into stock offerings made by GreenTech Automotive.
On Monday, the Northern Virginia Technology Council TechPAC endorsed Cuccinelli. On Tuesday, Cuccinelli and popular conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin held a joint Constitution Day rally, which was the beginning of an effort by the Cuccinelli campaign to reconnect with his strong base of conservative grassroots and Tea Party support.
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