It may be a moot point with today's court ruling, but Virginians have contradictory feelings about whether there should be a power sharing arrangement in the deadlocked State Senate.
On one hand only 31% of voters think the Republicans should have full control of the chamber, while 55% think there should be some sort of power sharing arrangement. Predictably Republicans think they should have all the power and Democrats think it should be shared. Independents tip the balance by siding with the Democrats in support of power sharing by a 53/28 margin.
That's how Virginians generally feel about the issue...but when it comes specifically to whether they think Bill Bolling should be able to cast a tie breaking vote on Senate organization voters say yes by a 37-34 margin and independents side with the Republican point of view on the issue by a 41/37 spread.
Takeaway: in theory voters think there should be power sharing but they also think Bolling has the right to break the tie...so they're basically sending a message to the GOP that it should share power, even if it doesn't have to.
Bob McDonnell continues to have above average appoval numbers in our Gubernatorial polling with 45% of voters approving of him to 33% who disapprove. In addition to most Republicans approving of him he has solid numbers with independents at 47/29 and receives crossover support from 19% of Democrats.
Despite his good numbers McDonnell as the VP choice would not be a game changer in the state. 30% say they'd actually be less likely to vote for the GOP ticket if McDonnell was on it compared to only 21% who would consider it a positive. That's not really a reflection on McDonnell himself so much as it is on the fact that there really just isn't such a thing as a VP game changer. We've found that Marco Rubio wouldn't do much for the ticket in Florida and that Susana Martinez wouldn't do much for the ticket in New Mexico as well.
With Ken Cuccinelli's announcement that he'll run for Governor in 2013 attention is already turning to the race to replace McDonnell and at this incredibly early stage everything looks up in the air. Although we found Bill Bolling well behind Cuccinelli in the primary numbers we released earlier this week, he actually does better in the general election. Bolling leads the 3 Democrats we tested by an average of 3 points- it's 39-36 over both Gerry Connolly and Terry McAuliffe and 39-35 over Tom Perriello.
Cuccinelli meanwhile averages a tie against the 3 Democrats- he leads McAuliffe by a point at 41-40, ties Perriello at 41% each, and trails Connolly by a point at 41-40.
Cuccinelli is easily the best known of these candidates with 68% name recognition to 43% for Bolling, 41% for Perriello, 38% for McAuliffe, and 25% for Connolly. But Cuccinelli's being well known isn't necessarily a good thing- only 29% of voters see him a favorable light while 39% have a negative opinion.
We didn't test a Democratic primary but McAuliffe (26/15) has the best favorability numbers among his party's voters, compared to 23/15 for Perriello and just 11/15 for Connolly who clearly just isn't known to much of anyone beyond Northern Virginia.
Finally Mark Warner continues to be Virginia's most popular politician and one of the most popular Senators in the country with a 54/24 approval spread. That gives him the 11th best numbers among nearly 90 current Senators we've polled on. Jim Webb has a solid 44/31 approval but as ever remains in Warner's shadow on the popularity front.
Full results here