Cuccinelli has simply become much better known than Bolling is. 71% of GOP primary voters have an opinion about him and they break down favorably 56/15. Only 41% know Bolling and they break down 28% favorable and 13% unfavorable.
I know it’s hard to believe that after six years in the lieutenant governor’s office, Bolling’s name recognition is so low but it is, after all, a low profile position. The attorney general’s office is much, much higher profile, which is why it becomes a springboard to the governor’s mansion.
At this point, my money is still on Bolling for being the Republican nominee for governor in 2013, for a number of reasons.
First, Bolling earned some good will within the party when he stepped aside in 2009, thereby giving Bob McDonnell a clear path – sans primary – to the governor’s mansion. This goodwill will likely translate into him having significant say in the method of nomination in 2009.
Second, if you want to test the ability of Bolling to get what he wants, look no further than the dust up over filing fees that Cuccinelli proposed in 2010. Bolling came out against them and they were defeated.
Third, although Cuccinelli is seen as the more conservative of the two, I’m not sure that is the case. Yes Bolling has moderated his image over the last few years, but that’s just for show. Bolling is a solid conservative.
Fourth, why in the world would Cuccinelli give up the bully pulpit of the AG’s office? To be perfectly honest, I don’t see a Democrat who is capable of beating him in 2013. When you combine that with the uncertainty of a gubernatorial win – depending upon whether President Obama is re-elected – I don’t see him running for governor right now.
Finally – and this point was made in the comments of the PPP blog post link above – as Romney’s Virginia State Director, Bolling will be traveling the state at his side. As I think Romney is going to be the Republican nominee for president and that Virginia will be in play in 2012, I expect that Bolling’s name recognition is going to go through the roof.
Early polling is always fun, if for no other reason than it gives us a chance to look at the possibilities.Follow @vpaige