A new poll shows approval rating for Gov. Bob McDonnell continue to fall as questions mount regarding a scandal over gifts he has received.
According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, 46 percent of Virginians now approve of McDonnell’s job performance, down from 49 percent in May. McDonnell once enjoyed ratings well above 50 percent.
As Virginians watch the ethical and legal questions pile up around McDonnell, the theme is clear:
“It’s shady,” says Mike Schaefer of Alexandria. “It’s shady, it’s disheartening.”
“It’s a little disappointing, I guess,” says Korbyn Banks of Arlington.
“I’m disappointed. I think he’s done a very good job,” says John Graykowski of Arlington.
And despite the state and federal investigation into McDonnell’s relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, 61 percent think the governor should not resign.
James Hohmann of POLITICO says the fairly strong numbers for McDonnell reflect this reality.
“One of the things Bob McDonnell has had going is people have trusted him.”
But Hohmann says McDonnell’s numbers could drop if the scandal grows, which could also hurt Republican candidate for governor and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli also has financial ties to Williams, a fact already being stressed by Democrat Terry McAuliffe, according to Hohmann.
“There’s enough smoke there that Terry McAuliffe will say there’s fire and will attack.”
And that’s exactly what’s happening. In response to this story, McAuliffe’s campaign press secretary John Schwerin says “Ken Cuccinelli is deeply tied to Jonnie Williams and has failed to disclose ten of thousands of dollars in gifts and investments.”
Meanwhile, senior strategist for the Cuccinelli campaign Chris LaCivita says, “The governor’s troubles affect us no more than Terry McAuliffe’s own widely-publicized well-known brushes with the law and ethical lapses.”
The race is clearly already getting nasty and it’s only July.
The first debate between the two candidates is set for Saturday in the town of Hot Springs, Va.