Twenty-four hours before Virginians vote to elect a new governor, the latest Newsmax/Zogby tracking poll shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe continuing to hold a double-digit lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
Even worse news for Republicans, Libertarian Robert Sarvis is on target to achieve what his supporters call "the magic 10 percent," that is, the percentage required by state law for the Libertarian Party to have an automatic statewide ballot line for the next three years, the poll found.
According to Zogby's latest data, McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee chairman, leads Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli by a margin of 43 percent to 31 percent.
That's about the same as the 44-to-32 percent edge Zogby showed McAuliffe holding over the weekend. The latest numbers also showed Sarvis at 11 percent, other candidates at 3 percent, with 11 percent undecided.
The Democrat and Libertarian candidates fare even better with voters who have already made up their minds. Zogby found that among "decided voters," McAuliffe has 48 percent; Cuccinelli, 35 percent; Sarvis, 13 percent; and other candidates 4 percent.
With McAuliffe headed for a big win Tuesday, the odds are increasing against Republicans winning either of the other two statewide races — lieutenant governor and attorney general.
What Zogby previously predicted could be "one of the bigger election stories Nov. 5" is coming true — namely, the rise of Sarvis and the Libertarians, to the detriment of Republicans.
"Third-party candidates usually fade in closing days, but no evidence of that in Virginia. Sarvis is picking up," Zogby told Newsmax. "If his numbers hold, he is receiving 18 percent among men, 12 percent among Republicans, and 26 percent among independents."
Zogby also pointed out that Sarvis clearly is cutting into voting groups that normally would be firmly in the Cuccinelli camp: 13 percent among conservatives; 11 percent among born-again Christians; 12 percent among gun-owners; 15 percent among current National Rifle Association members; 12 percent in the conservative western region of Virginia; 14 percent among investors; and 15 percent among NASCAR fans.
The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted Nov. 1-3 and has a margin of error of 4 percent.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax
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