The most popular potential candidate in terms of net favorability is Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. Only 45% of voters have an opinion about him, but among those who do 29% see him favorably to only 16% with an unfavorable opinion. If he ran as an independent candidate he would get 19% of the Republican vote but only 3% of the Democratic vote, speaking again to the concerns many GOP voters have about Cuccinelli. The race would be something approaching a three way tie among independent voters with McAuliffe at 30%, Cuccinelli at 27%, and Bolling at 24%.Colleague Norm Leahy already posted at Bearing Drift that the PPP numbers have McAuliffe with 46 percent while Cuccinelli pulls in 41 percent.
Usually the party that won the Presidential election loses the next Gubernatorial election in Virginia ... but at least at this early stage it looks like Cuccinelli's unpopularity could be enough to overcome that strong historical trend.
University of Virginia political pundit Larry Sabato noted the poll on Twitter:
"Least certain PPP finding -- Bolling. Ind % can vary greatly up or down. Familiarity may breed contempt with Macker & Cooch."No mention was made of "Crash the Vote" celebrity candidate Tareq Salahi and what impact he could have on the race.