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Negative Campaigning

While voter turnout for the last three Virginia gubernatorial elections was dismal, it’s possible that negative campaigning and scandals could discourage even more voters from going to the polls in November.

One political analyst believes the implications of the negative campaigns are greater than even low voter turnout.

Less than half  of Virginia voters headed to the polls during the last three gubernatorial elections. But even with low turnout, popularity ratings for the last three governors tended to be relatively high, and all were highly favored for White House positions.

But Dr. Bob Holsworth says the current tone of the campaigns could result in the winner of the contest between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and GOP Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli walking into office with less-than-desirable approval ratings.

Holsworth says both candidates need to come clean and answer all questions about the scandals, then quickly put it behind them and focus on running more issue-driven campaigns. He says initially McAuliffe was "underwater" but with the latest round of ads by Cuccinelli, they're both running a "race to the bottom."

Tommie McNeil is a State Capitol reporter who has been covering Virginia and Virginia politics for more than a decade. He originally hails from Maryland, and also doubles as the evening anchor for 1140 WRVA in Richmond.
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