POLITICS

HUFFPOLLSTER: Terry McAuliffe Leads In Two Virginia Gubernatorial Polls

09/24/2013 05:02 pm ET
AP

McAuliffe's lead has grown in Virginia. Booker's lead might be narrowing in New Jersey, or maybe it’s just the shift to likely voters. And trying to “unskew” Intrade predictions isn’t cheap. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

TWO NEW VIRGINIA POLLS RELEASED - Two new surveys of likely voters in Virginia give Democrat Terry McAuliffe healthy single digit leads over Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Twelve consecutive public polls in Virginia since July have given McAuliffe a nominal lead. As of this writing, the Pollster chart, which uses all public polls to estimate a combined polling trend, gives MCAuliffe a better than six percentage point lead (44.3 to 37.7 percent). McAuliffe's advantage on the trend estimates has increased since earlier in 2013. [Pollster]

Washington Post - Ben Pershing and Peyton Craighill: “Democrat Terry McAuliffe has vaulted into the lead over Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II in a Virginia governor’s race that has left many voters sour on both candidates, according to a new Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll. McAuliffe leads 47 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis’s 10 percent suggesting an unrest among voters not satisfied with either major-party contender. In a one-on-one matchup without Sarvis in the mix, the poll shows a narrower, 49-to--44-percent race between McAuliffe and Cuccinelli among likely voters — but still flips Cuccinelli’s 10-point lead from this spring. The shift in the race has come almost exclusively from female voters, who prefer McAuliffe by a 24-point margin over Cuccinelli.” [WaPost]

NBC 4/NBC News/Marist - Jessica Taylor: “With just over 40 days left until Election Day for Virginia governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a five-point edge over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in a new NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll, fueled by a significant advantage with female voters and the GOP candidate’s rising negatives. McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli, 43%--38%. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis gets 8%, and 10% remain undecided….The numbers have shifted significantly since NBC’s last poll in the race, which showed Cuccinelli leading 45%--42% among likely voters. The biggest reason for McAuliffe’s lead are a significant gender gap and [Cuccinelli’s] high unfavorables. Cuccinelli’s unfavorables have flipped since the spring survey. Now, he’s underwater with likely voters–47% have a negative opinion of the GOP nominee, while just 34% have a positive opinion. That’s a significant shift since May, when 42% said they viewed Cuccinelli positively, with just 27% negatively. McAuliffe, who’s faced questions over his GreenTech, his former electric car businesses, and the success of his other business ventures, still holds a net positive rating, with 41% of those polled saying they have a positive view of him, and 34% viewing him negatively.” [MSNBC]

Sarvis boosting McAuliffe? - On the NBC/Marist poll, Sarvis does best (with 15 percent) among independents, but does slightly better among Republicans (5 percent) than Democrats (2 percent), "suggesting he could take a point or two away from the GOP nominee," according to the MSNBC analysis. Nate Cohn: "[Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is] capitalizing on disaffection with the major party candidates, and the polls show him attracting nearly 10 percent of the vote. The good news for Cuccinelli is that Sarvis is unlikely to finish with 10 percent, since polls tend to overstate the final support of third-party candidates. The bad news is that McAuliffe still leads by 5 points in a two-way race [on the Post/ABC poll], with 49 percent of the vote." [New Republic]

BOOKER RETAINS LEAD IN NJ SENATE - Quinnipiac: “Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the Democrat, leads former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, the Republican 53 - 41 percent among likely voters in the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, closer than expected given Booker's wide lead among registered voters last month, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This is the first survey of likely voters...in the campaign for the special U.S. Senate election October 16 and can not be compared to earlier surveys of registered voters.”
[Quinnipiac]

Race narrowing? - While stressing that the new likely voter sample does not allow "a direct comparison between registered voters and likely voters," Quinnipiac's Maurice Carroll nonetheless noted that Quinnipiac's previous survey of registered Democrats gave Booker a 25-point lead (54 to 29 percent). "Maybe that 'show horse vs. work horse' charge from Republican Steve Lonegan is having an impact," he speculated in the Quinnipiac release. Monmouth University Polling Director Patrick Murray had a different take: "Booker lead may be shrinking," he tweeted, "but [it] was never in 20s (or30s!) among [likely voters]." Murray pointed to a Monmouth poll conducted among likely voters in mid-August that showed Booker leading by 16 point (54 to 38 percent), a poll conducted just two weeks after Quinnipiac's previous survey. [@PollsterPatrick, Monmouth]

MORE ON INTRADER WHO LOST BIG BETTING ON ROMNEY - The Wall Street Journal's Neil Kin reports on the paper HuffPollster linked to yesterday by economists Rajiv Sethi and David Rothschild that identified a single trader that lost between $4 and $7 million betting on Mitt Romney in 2012 on Intrade: "The anonymous trader placed 1.2 million pro-Romney contracts, some of which were actually in the form of bets against a Barack Obama victory. The most plausible reason for the betting, the authors conclude, is that “this trader could have been attempting to manipulate beliefs about the odds of victory in an attempt to boost fundraising, campaign morale, and turnout.” [Sethi & Rothschild] also analyze the possibility that the trader, who accounted for a third of all the money wagered on Mr. Romney in the last two weeks, could have placed his bets either to hedge on wagers in other markets or simply because he thought the price was good. But Mr. Sethi...said in an interview that the pattern of the trader’s bets were not those of an irrational person. “This was someone who was extremely sophisticated. It was not someone who was dumb or stupid,” he said. The paper reaches no firm conclusion on the trader’s motivation, but leans toward the thesis that someone was trying to modify perceptions of the race, even down the final stretch. [WSJ, Rothschild & Sethi]

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TUESDAY'S OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-PPP (D) finds Republican Shelley Moore Capito leading Democrat Natalie Tennant in West Virginia. [PPP]

-Jonathan Alter says polls showing majority opposition to Obamacare are accurate without being true. [National Memo]

-Jen Agiesta digests the polls showing a thirst for budget compromise. [AP]

-Charlie Cook notes independents "tilting" Republican. [National Journal]

-Bill McInturff (R) reviews findings from the NBC/WSJ poll on health care and the Affordable Care Act. [POS]

-With a runoff election just seven days away, the New York City Board of Elections is still counting paper ballots cast two weeks ago in the first primary. [@ThomasKaplan]

-Nathan Gonzales lists five things winning candidates say. [Roll Call]

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