The Virginia race for governor gets more interesting each week for the November 5, 2013 general election. A poll out yesterday from Zogby Analytics shows 24% of Virginia voters have not made up their mind who they will vote to be their next governor and the Libertarian Party candidate, Robert Sarvis, continues to make gains.
As we wrote last week, Sarvis gains each week in the polls and as more general media outlets treat him as a serious candidate, rather than a 'spoiler' as is often the rhetoric about Libertarian Party candidates, he will continue his gains. Sarvis' message is resonating with Virginians as he has gone from zero to now 12.7% in the Zogby poll in a matter of just a couple months.
The current Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell, is term limited out and Sarvis is facing Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cucinelli for the open office. Sarvis is clearly different than McAuliffe and Cucinelli, which according to recent polling, is something Virginians find appealing.
Sarvis' message about being open minded socially and fiscally conservative which is apparently precisely the make up of Virginians. According to pollster John Zogby, he said yesterday about the poll, "We learn a lot about Virginia voters in this poll. First, they are not fond of any of the candidates. An undecided of 24% at this stage of a race where fortunes have been spent strongly suggests that a lot of people don't really like any of the candidates. Second we learn that both the candidacies of Sarvis and Jackson are hurting Cucinelli among voters in the general election. Third, in a generic matchup for President in 2016, we find the state leaning toward a Democratic candidate by 8 points - 36% to 28%, with 32% undecided. Finally, we have parsed the GOP vote in Virginia among 4 separate groups: self-described "libertarians", "fiscal conservatives", "social conservatives", and "Tea Party". Among libertarians, Cucinelli leads McAuliffe 31% to 18%, but Sarvis receives 35%! Among fiscal conservatives, Cucinelli leads 57% to 7% with 21% for Sarvis. Among social conservatives, Cucinelli shuts out his opponents 79% and 13% undecided. And among Tea Partiers, Cucinelli leads 51% to 9% for McAuliffe, 13% for Sarvis, and 24% undecided. This race is not over."
Sarvis still has an uphill battle and he is running out of time. He is almost certain to be included in the last of three debates happening later this month between himself, Cucinelli and McAuliffe. Sarvis was excluded from two earlier debates because he did not poll high enough or his name was excluded from polling that was used as criteria to debate (a common tactic used to exclude Libertarian Party candidates). With such a large number (24%) of voters still undecided, things could tip into a Sarvis win, though that is clearly not a given. How people respond to polling over a telephone is often different than how they actually vote on election day.