Poll: Virginia governor's race tied

Virginia's governor's race is statistically tied, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe leads Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) by 40 to 39 percent, well within the poll's margin of error. The two are all but guaranteed to be their parties' nominees.

Results don't change much when Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who hasn't ruled out running as an Independent, is included. McAuliffe and Cuccinelli are tied at 34 percent apiece, with Bolling at 13 percent. None is well-known, according to the poll: Cuccinelli, the best-known, has an approval rating of 33 percent, to 25 percent disapproving.

Virginia's 2013 gubernatorial election is one of just two gubernatorial races this year, and the swing state could hint at the national political mood. Virginia voters have for 30 years elected a governor of the opposite party from the president.

Virginia's other politicians fare well. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), long the state's most popular politician, has an approval rating of 59 percent, with 27 percent disapproving. He's up for reelection in 2014 but is unlikely to face a tough race.

The Quinnipiac poll found a markedly different result from one released by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling on Tuesday. PPP found McAuliffe with a 5-point lead, not a huge difference — but it also found Cuccinelli was much better-known among voters, with much higher approval ratings.

Quinnipiac's live-caller poll of 1,134 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 4-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.