If Mark Warner wants to be the next Governor of Virginia...he's probably going to be the next Governor of Virginia. PPP's newest poll finds him blowing away the Republican field of candidates with a 53-33 lead over Ken Cuccinelli, a 53-32 advantage over Bill Bolling, and a 58-19 edge over Tareq Salahi.
Warner continues to be the state's most popular politician with a 52% approval rating to only 26% of voters who disapprove of him. He takes 13-29% of the Republican vote in these three match ups while losing only 2-4% of the Democratic vote, and he has a persistent double digit lead with independents as well. At this point the office looks to be Warner's for the taking.
Cuccinelli continues to be the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nomination next year. He's polling at 51% to 23% for Bolling and 4% for Salahi with 22% of voters undecided. Cuccinelli has a huge name recognition advantage over the other two with 76% of voters familiar with him compared to only 46% for Salahi and 44% for Bolling. His appeal to the far right wing of the GOP will make him difficult to defeat in a primary. Among 'very conservative' voters he's at 64% to 20% for Bolling.
Cuccinelli's nomination could be bad news for Republicans in the general election though. Bolling leads both Terry McAuliffe (36-34) and Tom Perriello (35-34) by narrow margins in head to head match ups. Cuccinelli meanwhile trails each of the Democrats, McAuliffe by a 41-36 spread and Perriello 39-36.Cuccinelli is not real popular beyond the Republican base with only 30% of voters seeing him positively to 37% with a negative opinion.
There are a lot of unknowns to sort out in the Virginia Gubernatorial race over the next year but the big picture at this point appears to be a strong advantage for the Democrats if Warner runs and a toss up race if he doesn't.
Full results here