If polling is to be believed, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has flipped his fortunes.
In the contest with Republican Ken Cucinelli, a new Washington Post poll shows Virginians ready to elect McAuliffe by the same margin they were ready to hand Cucinelli not long ago.
Television advertising must have something to do with both this and the 24-percentage-point advantage that McAuliffe holds among women — ads like a McAuliffe campaign commercial featuring a female obstetrician-gynecologist saying of the anti-abortion Republican attorney general of the Commonwealth: Why doesn’t he just do his job and let her do hers?
McAuliffe leads Cucinelli by 47 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, the Post reports, 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, the survey reveals a narrower, 49-to-44-percentage-point race for McAuliffe and Cuccinelli.
“The shift in the race has come almost exclusively from female voters, who prefer McAuliffe by a 24-point margin over Cuccinelli,” the Post’s Ben Pershing and Peyton Craighill note. “The candidates were effectively tied among women in a Washington Post poll in May.”
And Cucinelli had a 10-point edge among all likely voters..
“McAuliffe’s strength among women is probably due in part to an intense campaign to portray Cuccinelli as a threat to women and the issues they care about most deeply,” the Post team writes. “A new McAuliffe ad, for instance, features a Norfolk OB-GYN speaking directly to the camera about how she is “offended” by Cuccinelli’s position on abortion.”