(WUSA9) -- According to the latest Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University poll, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is favored for governor over Republican Ken Cuccinelli among likely voters in Virginia's gubernatorial race. Researchers say women, independents and "defecting Republican voters" give McAuliffe a 9-point lead over Cuccinelli, 47 percent to 38 percent.
Researchers add that McAuliffe holds a 5-point lead, 43 percent to 38 percent, among registered voters. Also, Libertarian Robert Sarvis was the preference of 8 percent of likely voters and 9 percent of registered voters, according to researchers.
Researchers give the following breakdown of the poll results:
"The poll shows McAuliffe with a 12-point lead among women, 50 percent to 38 percent, and a 16-point lead among independents, 45 percent to 29 percent. Cuccinelli has nearly unanimous support among Republicans who say they are most concerned with social issues (96 percent). But 11 percent of Republicans who say they are most concerned about the state's business climate say they will not vote for him - most preferring Sarvis. McAuliffe, too, shows some weakness in his base, with less support among African-American voters than President Obama in 2012 and the losing Democratic gubernatorial candidate four years ago, Creigh Deeds."
In the lieutenant-governor race, the poll shows Democrat Ralph Northam leads Republican E.W. Jackson among likely voters, 48 percent to 37 percent.
The contest for attorney general race is closer: Democrat Mark Herring leads Republican Mark Obenshain among likely voters, 45 percent to 42 percent.
The Wason Center surveyed 1,004 registered Virginia voters, including 886 likely voters, between Oct. 1 and Oct. 6. Researchers say the margin of error is +/- 3.1%.
Another round of the Wason Center gubernatorial election survey will be released on Wednesday, with a focus on voters' views on women's issues, religious freedom, partisanship and officeholders' ethics.