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Opinions On Virginia Governor Largely Split Along Party Lines

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Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell still enjoys support from those in his party.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell still enjoys support from those in his party.

Virginia voters are divided as to whether Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell is honest and trustworthy, according to the results of a new poll.

The embattled governor has been hit by a barrage of negative press in recent months, with story after story detailing his financial relationship with a wealthy Virginia businessman fighting a tax bill. McDonnell ended up apologizing and returning the money, but his reputation still hangs in the balance.

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, 28 percent of Virginia voters say they haven't heard enough to form an opinion, 34 percent say they hold a favorable opinion, 35 percent say unfavorable.

"People want to like Bob McDonnell. They want to like him as a person. And so they will give him a favorable opinion if they can, if they can find a reason to do it," says Quinton Kidd, a Christopher Newport University professor.

But Democrats will also give him an unfavorable opinion if they can find a reason to do it. The poll shows a stark partisan divide, with 69 percent of Republicans saying McDonnell is honest and trustworthy while 55 percent of Democrats say he is not honest.

"I think when people are asked about politicians of the opposite party, they are just naturally a little more, actually a lot more, hostile. You see this is all sorts of public opinion polling," says Kyle Kondik, an analyist for the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

In the hotly contested race for governor, the poll has Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a six point lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

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