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McAuliffe Maintains Lead Over Cuccinelli In Latest Poll

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Democrat Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli talk before a Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce debate Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, in McLean, Va.
(AP Photo/The Washington Post, Linda Davidson, Pool)
Virginia gubernatorial candidates Democrat Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli talk before a Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce debate Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, in McLean, Va.

A new poll finds Democrat Terry McAuliffe holding a strong lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

The poll from Quinnipiac University has McAuliffe at 46 percent and Cuccinelli at 39 percent. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis has 10 percent, and the poll shows he has more support among Republicans than Democrats.

Quinnipiac's findings are based on live telephone interviews with 1,085 likely voters and they have 3 percent margin of error.

Time running out for Cuccinelli

University of Virginia Center for Politics analyst Kyle Kondik says Cuccinelli needs more than a good performance during Thursday night's debate.

"He needs some luck. He needs Terry McAuliffe to do something profoundly stupid," Kondik says.

Only 4 percent of Virginia voters say they are undecided, and only 7 percent say there's a "good chance" they will change their mind by Election Day. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Out-of-state money enters race

The highly-watched race has started to draw money and attention from out-of-state, mostly focused on the issue of gun control.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is dropping more than $1 million on ads in support of McAuliffe. The first ad shows images of the Virginia Tech and Navy Yard shooters as the announcer lambasts Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli's positions on guns.

The National Rifle Association has its own ad supporting Republican State Sen. Mark D. Obenshain in Virginia's race for attorney general. It attacks Democratic State Senator Mark R. Herring.

The increase in attack ads comes as the campaigns enter their final two week stretch.

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