Where to start with the bad Republican news in the Politico poll of Virginia? By this time in 2009, Republican nominee Bob McDonnell was soaring ahead of Democrat Creigh Deeds. Now, one month out, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is 9 points ahead of GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli in a race that includes Libertarian Robert Sarvis—and 10 points ahead if Sarvis isn't included. (Based on history, wags in Virginia expect Sarvis' low-double-digit numbers to at least halve. The point of this poll is that the numbers don't actually skew toward Cuccinelli if that happens.)
So that's obviously bad news. Also bad for Cuccinelli:
It's the GOP's bad luck to have one of the year's only elections taking place in Virginia, home to a six-digit number of government employees and contractors whose lives are being disrupted by a shutdown. But this can't be chalked up to bad luck:
Republicans, as they did in 2012 and 2010, have been trying to use EPA regulations and a "war on coal" to bring down Democratic candidates. It worked in 2010, when they took out Democratic Rep. Rich Boucher, who represented coal country. But in 2012 it failed miserably, and it's not working now because not enough voters live in coal country.