New Poll Shows Governor's Race in Statistical Tie - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

New Poll Shows Governor's Race in Statistical Tie

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New poll numbers show the race for the state's top job in a statistical tie. They also shed light on what a 2016 run for president could look like for Governor Bob McDonnell.

The poll provides some interesting insight into Virginia's electorate, starting with this year's contentious race for governor, where things are still mostly neck and neck.

Another week, another survey of Virginia voters. Last week's Washington post poll put Republican Ken Cuccinelli up five points over Democrat Terry McAuliffe among all Virginia voters.

Hot on its heels is Wednesday's NBC News/Marist poll, which shows the candidates in a statistical tie. But keen eyes aren't focusing on those numbers, they're looking deeper.

"It does kind of show you the issues facing McAuliffe with an off-year election in terms of the makeup of the electorate," said Geoff Skelley, political analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Skelley says it's a bit early to start looking at the pool of "likely voters," but judging by those that plan to turn out in November, McAuliffe could face a problem.

"The makeup of the electorate of likely voters was whiter, more conservative than the makeup of just the registered voters," Skelley said.

In fact, the same survey showed Ken Cuccinelli up three points among likely voters.

"What McAuliffe has to do is he has to make sure that those voters who turned out for Obama in 2012, and probably 2008 as well, that they will show up and vote for him in 2013," Skelley said.

And if he were allowed to run again, McDonnell would be ahead of McAuliffe by 15 points, 51 to 36.

"If anything, Terry McAuliffe has tried to cozy up to Bob McDonnell in a lot of ways," Skelley said.

Analysts say that's part of the Democrat's strategy. McAuliffe continues to praise McDonnell and his bipartisan transportation plan, perhaps hoping in part to tie his wagon to the one already on the road.

Speaking of McDonnell, this poll also showed some interesting data if he were to run for president in 2016. Poll numbers show him beating vice president Joe Biden 49-42, but losing to Hillary Clinton 52-41.

But despite speculation, analysts still say McDonnell is unlikely to launch a presidential bid.

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