Cuccinelli doubling Bolling in new poll
Has early edge in gubernatorial race
RICHMOND | Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II leads Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling by 19 percentage points in the likely Republican nomination contest for governor in 2013, according to a poll released Thursday.
The Roanoke College poll, which put Mr. Cuccinelli and Mr. Bolling at 37 percent and 18 percent, respectively, also found 44 percent of voters are undecided, similar to results in other polls in this race.
Mr. Cuccinelli has won support from conservatives in part by suing the federal government over President Obama’s health care reforms and challenging the Environmental Protection Agency over carbon emissions regulations. He also has greater name recognition than Mr. Bolling, the poll showed.
Mr. Bolling has spent the second term in his post as Gov. Bob Mcdonnell’s chief jobs creation officer and has been the tie-breaking vote in the evenly divided Senate on several contentious issues so far during the 2012 General Assembly.
Mr. Bolling had a 57 percent favorable rating and 16 percent unfavorable rating, while Mr. Cuccinelli’s numbers were 62 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
“Looking ahead to 2013, Mr. Cuccinelli has greater name recognition than Bolling and leads in the head-tohead matchup,” said Harry L. Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. “But both currently enjoy high favorable ratings among Republican primary voters who are familiar with them. That said, a year can be an eternity in politics.”
In Virginia’s GOP presidential primary contest March 6, Mitt Romney has a 56 percent to 21 percent lead over Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the only other candidate on the Republican ballot in the state.
“To state the obvious, it appears inevitable that Mitt Romney will win the
primary,” Mr. Wilson said. “But with a higher unfavorable rating [36 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable] among those voting, he is not an overly popular choice. Whichever candidate gets the GOP nomination, he will have a lot of work to do in Virginia.”
Even with additional candidates on the ballot, the former Massachusetts governor still led with 31 percent of the vote, while 27 percent favored former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Thirteen percent went to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and 12 percent favored Mr. Paul.
Half of the respondents identified themselves as Republicans, 28 percent said they were independents and 13 percent were Democrats. Virginia holds an open primary, so anybody can vote, regardless of party.
The poll surveyed 377 likely Republican primary voters from Feb. 13 to 28, and has a margin of error of 5 percentage points. rejected a power-sharing agreement from Democrats. Democrats also have called for more equitable representation on committees, a proposition that Republican leaders have flatly rejected.
“They’re solid. They’re solid as a rock,” Sen. Charles J. Colgan, Prince William Democrat, said of his caucus. Mr. Colgan would be made co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee under a proposal from the Democrats. “Nobody’s blinking.”
The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday afternoon quickly approved the plan, as well as a measure identical to its version of the “caboose budget” to amend the spending plan that funds operations for the fiscal year ending June 30, which the Senate blocked as well.
House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox, Colonial Heights Republican, said he hopes the House can debate the budget Friday and have it over to the Senate on Monday.
At the State House, (from left) Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Mr. O’malley and Mr. Busch sign the Civil Marriage Protection Act into law. Maryland on Thursday became the eighth state in the nation to legalize gay marriage.