10/29/2013 05:30 pm ET

HUFFPOLLSTER: Poll Predicts Democratic-Leaning Turnout In Virginia


Defying the conventional wisdom, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be likely voters in Virginia this year (at least in one poll). Chris Christie's ratings continue to defy partisan polarization. And support for the death penalty hits a 40-year low, though a majority of Americans still favor it. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, October 29, 2013.

MCAULIFFE LEADS BY DOUBLE DIGITS IN POST'S FINAL POLL - Laura Vozzella and Peyton M. Craighill: "According to a new Washington Post/Abt SRBI poll, McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli 51 percent to 39 percent among likely voters in the Nov. 5 election. McAuliffe led by eight percentage points in a poll taken last month. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who has capitalized on voter unrest with the two major-party candidates, is at 8 percent, according to the new poll….Among those supporting the Democrat, 64 percent say they are voting against Cuccinelli rather than for McAuliffe....Virginia Republicans have been hoping that the smaller electorate that typically turns out for the state’s off-year gubernatorial contest would benefit Cuccinelli...But the poll finds McAuliffe with a substantial lead across a variety of high- and low-turnout scenarios. Among all registered voters, McAuliffe’s supporters are slightly more apt to say they are 'absolutely certain' they will go to the polls than Cuccinelli’s." The poll finds McAuliffe leading by only 6 points among registered voters, compared with 12 points among likely voters. [WaPost]

Virginians sour on Tea Party... - Ben Pershing and Scott Clement: "Cuccinelli’s decline comes as Virginians are increasingly turned off by the movement that has backed him strongly and with which he shares many views. The tea party is now opposed by 53 percent of registered voters in the commonwealth, up a slim three points since last year and up 10 points from a May 2011 Washington Post poll. Just 36 percent support the movement, down from 45 percent two years ago...Independents have soured most dramatically on the tea party: Fifty-five percent of them now oppose the movement, up from 37 percent in May 2011." [WaPost]

...but even more on Republicans - Greg Sargent notes the 32 percent favorable, 65 percent unfavorable rating of the Republican party among Virginia's likely voters: The national GOP’s unfavorable rating in Virginia has spiked to 87 percent among nonwhite likely voters. It’s at 69 percent among women voters. And it’s at 69 percent among white college graduate voters...And it is at 69 percent among independents." By contrast, the national Democratic party is at 50 percent favorable, 48 percent unfavorable in Virginia. [WaPost's Plum Line]

Chart update - The new result brings McAuliffe's lead over Cuccinelli on the Pollster tracking model to roughly ten percentage points (45.9 to 35.7 percent) with Sarvis at 9.4 percent. [Pollster]

McAuliffe's massive ad spending advantage - Consider the recent trend in the polling in the context of a massive emerging disparity in television advertising spending reported yesterday by the Post's Reid Wilson: "The two sides were at parity until about mid-August, when McAuliffe turned on the jets. Since Sept. 1, Cuccinelli’s campaign has only outspent McAuliffe in two seven-day stretches. And since Oct. 1, McAuliffe’s campaign has at least doubled Cuccinelli’s weekly spending...As Cuccinelli’s cash seemingly dwindles, the outside conservative groups aren’t stepping up to help him make up the difference." [WaPost]


CHRISTIE A LOCK FOR GOVERNOR, BUT PRESIDENT? - Quinnipiac: "As New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie cruises to a 2-1 reelection victory, Garden State likely voters say 48 - 41 percent that they would like to see the Republican incumbent run for president in 2016, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Gov. Christie tops State Sen. Barbara Buono, the Democratic challenger, 64 - 31 percent in his reelection bid, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. This 2--1 margin has been basically unchanged throughout the campaign....New Jersey likely voters are divided 42 - 43 percent on whether Christie would make a good president." [Quinnipiac]

Christie's personal ratings remain sky high - Christie's horse race numbers aren't just the result of a weak challenger. His own favorable ratings are startlingly high across the board -- 65 percent of New Jersey voters view him positively, including 92 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats. He gets net positive ratings from male, female and white voters alike, and a nearly neutral 46--47 rating among black voters. [h/t @BrettLoGiurato]

SUPPORT FOR THE DEATH PENALTY AT 40-YEAR LOW - Jeffrey Jones: "Sixty percent of Americans say they favor the death penalty for convicted murderers, the lowest level of support Gallup has measured since November 1972, when 57% were in favor. Death penalty support peaked at 80% in 1994, but it has gradually declined since then...The current era of lower support may be tied to death penalty moratoriums in several states beginning around 2000 after several death-row inmates were later proven innocent of the crimes of which they were convicted. More recently, since 2006, six states have repealed death penalty laws outright, including Maryland this year." [Gallup]


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

-Economic confidence is rising, but remains below pre-shutdown levels. [Gallup]

-Many Americans say they've become more curious about how the new health law will affect them. [Bankrate]

-Partisanship divides Americans more than any other factor when it comes to attitudes on gender, race, religion, immigration and politics. [ABC News]

-People who lived through Hurricane Sandy communicated most often by cell phone or in person conversations. [AP]

-Scott Walker could face a competitive reelection campaign next year. [Marquette]

-Nate Cohn argues that a Terry McAuliffe win isn't a harbinger of Democrats' 2014 fortunes; Ed Kilgore disagrees. [TNR, Washington Monthly]

-Ruy Teixeira explains how 2016 could be an even bigger Democratic blowout than 2008. [Think Progress]

-Elizabeth Wilner reports that spending on cable could claim 25 percent of television advertising spending in 2014. [Cook Political]

-Mark Hugo Lopez reviews five demographic trends that explain the creation of Fusion, an English language Latino cable channel. [Pew Research]

-The American Values Survey goes "in Search of Libertarians in America." [Public Religion Research Institute, The Atlantic]

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