VA's Next Governor: "Mr. Don't Know"

Jul 3, 2013

Virginia’s next election is less than 150 days away, so pollsters in Central Virginia were surprised by their latest findings.  But, the winner of the governor’s race is neither Terry McAuliffe nor Ken Cuccinelli.

When Tom Guterbock, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Survey Research, looked at the results of 900 phone calls to people in Albemarle and four  surrounding counties, he was surprised.  This area does tend to vote blue, but the Democratic nominee did not come out on top.

“While Terry McAuliffe does have a sizable lead here in the local area, the real winner is Mr. Don’t Know.  It’s about  34% McAuliffe, about 22% for Cuccinelli the Republican, and 36% said, last month, that they don’t know who they are going to vote for.”

Guterbock says Cuccinelli began the race with much higher name recognition, and it may take a while for McAuliffe to catch up. 

“People are slower to make up their mind in a statewide election than in a presidential election.  Women are slower to decide than men, and independents slower to decide than those two have a partisan choice.  Still, I think that with nearly 50% of independent females in our area undecided, it’s just a little bit of a surprise.”

Statewide polls have shown a close race, but political scientists are quick to say it’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for voters will make up their minds.