These polls show a significant change from a few months back. At the beginning of the year, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli ran even at about 36 percent each. When the influx of negative ads began to hit the airwaves in July, both men saw their number take a significant dip, with McAuliffe maintaining a slight edge, and then gaining more steam in September and October.
Two major factors that could be playing into the recent numbers are the addition of Robert Sarvis (Lib) to the polls and the effect of the recent government shutdown. Sarvis was not included in several of the early polling reports. Now that he is, he could be taking away support for the other two candidates, changing the poll dynamics. According to a recent Politico poll, 14 percent of Virginians who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 have defected in favor of the libertarian candidate. The shutdown has also had a large impact on Virginia, a state known for its federal employee and military presence. Polls show that Americans, Virginians included, blame republicans more than democrats for the shutdown, which could put a damper on Cuccinelli’s (R) numbers, if voters associate him with the Republican Party. No matter the reasons, the polls all seem to be on the same page about one thing. McAuliffe (D) has the lead in the race going in to the final few weeks and Cuccinelli (R) has an uphill battle to climb if he wants to be the next governor of Virginia.