Good news for Virginians is that the race for governor will be over in November. The bad news is that it’s still 53 days away (including the actual election). The feelings of Virginia voters can best be expressed by this poll finding:
Just 24% of Virginians have a favorable impression of Democrat Terry McAuliffe (39% unfavorable). Similarly, 29% have a favorable view of Ken Cuccinelli (49% unfavorable). Both have comparable net ratings with embattled Governor Bob McDonnell (31%/44%).
Think about that for a minute, the GOP nominee is already viewed unfavorably by half the electorate. The Democrat isn’t much better with almost 40% not viewing him favorably. When asked about it the pollster claimed they were “two of the least well-liked candidates that we can recall competing in a single election.”
How did it get to this? Given how competitive Virginia has been since 2005 (two close presidential and U.S. Senate races and control of the state senate flipping back and forth between the parties) you would think both parties would have found better candidates.
Some will say that Cuccinelli got the nomination because his supporters took over the nomination process and made it a convention instead of a primary. Knowing that he couldn’t win at an activists dominated convention Cuccinelli’s opponent, Bill Bolling, dropped out. These same people insist Bolling could’ve won on the primary.
Polling taken a year before shows that Cuccinelli had a commanding lead over Bolling. Whether it was a convention or primary Cuccinelli was going to get it. Now a primary would have stopped the electoral train wreck that is E.W. Jackson, but every system has its benefits I guess.
As for the Democrats, it seems McAuliffe never stopped running after he came in second to Deeds in the 2009 Democratic primary. Given his money connection to the Clintons McAuliffe was unstoppable to many in the party.
What can we draw from this race going forward? Not that much. I mean for the sake of American democracy you kinds of have to hope we never have an election with two such unlikable candidates ever. Getting people to turnout to vote is hard enough as it is already.
One interesting point to consider is what if the Virginia GOP had a convention to decide who got the commonwealth’s delegates in the 2016 primary? Now that would be true grand political theater. I would encourage Chris Christie and Marco Rubio to stay far away from that event.