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Still No Clear Front Runner In Virginia Governor Race

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The margin between former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is within the margin of error.
Kate Wellington: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharedferret/3530355338/
The margin between former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is within the margin of error.

The race for Virginia governor is in a dead heat, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has the support of 40 percent of responents, and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe has 38 percent. Cuccinelli is viewed as having better experience, while McAuliffe is seen as slightly less ideological.

"I think a lot of times, voters will make a decision based on, kind of, their views of the ideologies of the candidates and that sort of thing," says University of Virginia Center for Politics analyst Kyle Kondik.

So far, that hasn't happened. Of voters, 32 percent say Cuccinelli has the right political philosophy, although 33 percent say they don't know. Twenty nine percent of voters say McAuliffe is about right when it comes to political philosophies, although 33 percent say they have no opinion of the Democrat.

"There's certainly a lot of people who aren't tuned into this race yet," Kondik says.

McAuliffe has a 20 percent favorable rating, although a whopping 63 percent say they don't know enough about him to have an opinion. And despite his competition's headline grabbing tenure as the commonwealth's hard-charting conservative attorney general, 44 percent say they don't know enough about Cuccinelli.

"Ken Cuccinelli may be the most famous attorney general in America, what with all his media appearances. But, for a lot of Virginians, he's still a blank slate," says University of Mary Washington professor Stephen Farnsworth.

Polling shows the standard gender gap, with women supporting the Democrat and men preferring the Republican. Twenty nine percent of voters say Cuccinelli is too conservative, and 21 percent of voters say McAuliffe is too liberal. Most people, though, don't know what to think yet.

"With the high level of voters in the state, who aren't sure what to make of either of these candidates, that speaks to how much more political advertising we are going to be facing between now and November."

Farnsworth predicts the race for governor this year will be the most expensive campaign in Virginia history.

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