It’s Hard to Take the Lead When You’re Outspent by $1.5 Million

by Jim Geraghty

This isn’t all you need to know about the Quinnipiac poll showing Democrat Terry McAuliffe leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli by 6 percentage points in the Virginia governor’s race, but it’s a big piece of the puzzle: “McAuliffe and allies outspent Cuccinelli and his allies on TV ads by at least $1.5 million.”

What it suggests is that the coverage of McAuliffe’s scandals and his troubles at GreenTech Automotive hasn’t penetrated many voters, or they simply don’t care. Meanwhile, McAuliffe’s relentless attack ads aiming to Akin-ize Cuccinelli are working; McAuliffe leads among women by 50 percent to 38 percent, according to Quinnipiac.

And McAuliffe leads in cash on hand, $6 million to $2.7 million. There are 75 days until Election Day.

Some folks on the right are expressing skepticism of the party breakdown in Quinnipiac’s sample; Democrats have a seven-percentage-point advantage there. But after the Obama campaign successfully “changed the electorate” in 2012, driving up turnout among African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people, Republicans can’t be certain that this year’s turnout will echo the 2009 model, when self-identified Republicans were 37 percent of the electorate and self-identified Democrats only 33 percent.

More than a few conservatives asserted after Romney’s loss in 2012 that Republicans win when the party nominates genuine conservatives who aren’t afraid to take bold stands. So far, it appears they’re not putting their money where their mouth is.