Poll shows Va. Governor's race in dead heat

5:55 PM, Sep 18, 2013   |    comments
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ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA9) -- A new poll shows the Virginia Governor's race is in a dead heat and the Libertarian could be the key. 

Quinnipiac University survey finds Democrat Terry McAuliffe's lead dropped several points to 44% of likely voters. 

Republican Ken Cuccinelli has 41%, which given the three percent margin of error, is even.

The poll shows Sarvis, a Fairfax County native, Harvard educated software engineer, business owner, and lawyer, with 7% percent of likely voters. Sarvis says an average of four recent polls puts him at 9%. That's enough to do major damage to one or both of the mainstream party candidates. 

"My support is coming fairly evenly, especially from people who weren't going to vote because they found the other two candidates so toxic. So I'm bringing a lot of people back to the polls who weren't going to vote," said Sarvis. 

"You could imagine a Ralph Nader-type situation where you have an extremely close race between the two major party candidates and the third party candidate tilts the election one way or the other," said George Mason University Public Policy Professor Mark Rozzell. He says if the race between Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe is very close, Sarvis could more likely spoil it for Cuccinelli, because typically, libertarians pulls votes away from republicans. 

"Neither candidate is really exciting the electorate right now. You look at these polling data and they show that, yes the candidates are close, but neither one is very popular, in fact their negatives are quite high," said Rozell. 

The escalating number of negative attack ads from both candidates may have something to do with that. But Rozell thinks if a candidate decides to run only positive ads, it could benefit him by pleasing voters. 

However, he doesn't expect that to happen. Instead, he expects the number of negatives ads to increase up until November 5th, with McAuliffe out spending Cuccinelli. 

McAuliffe has $5 million for the final stretch. Cuccinelli has about half that.

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