Last week the Washington Post ran a poll that gave the Ken Cuccinelli for Governor campaign great fundraising fodder. This weekend they revealed the numbers and gave Cuccinelli even more fodder:

Six months before Election Day, Cuccinelli (R) has a slender 46 to 41?percent edge over McAuliffe (D) among all Virginia voters and a significant 51 to 41?percent lead among those who say they’re certain to cast ballots in November. But those numbers may change before then: The poll found that barely 10 percent say they are following the campaign “very closely” and that nearly half of the electorate says they’re either undecided or could change their minds.

WaPo talks “very closely” but the net answers from people who are following it “very closely” and “somewhat closely” is 48% – nearly half of registered voters are already paying attention.

Yes, it’s early May. Yes, it’s a long time to November. And, yes, both candidates are fairly unknown to the electorate.

But with 70% knowing “little/none” about Terry McAuliffe’s qualifications to be governor while 54% aren’t sure about Cuccinelli, the campaigns are shifting from trying to define each other and into a defining themselves mode. But, as Steve Albertson points out over at Virginia Virtucon that Terry McAuliffe may have his work cut out for him:

What has to be really troubling for McAuliffe and the Democrats is what the poll data reveal about T-Mac’s inability to connect with the Democrat base. While Obama won 93% of the black vote in 2012, McAuliffe has support from among only 69% of black Virginians. This reveals tremendous softness in the Democrats’ most loyal constituency, and comes just as Cuccinelli begins to gain steam among the black community as more and more people learn about Ken’s efforts on behalf of victimized blacks and the disadvantaged.

Perhaps just as troubling is T-Mac’s weakness among younger voters and women, the other two main components of the Obama coalition. Among younger voters Cuccinelli is hammering the Democrat with 48% to Terry’s 39%. Women are essentially split, but T-Mac has to know that won’t last long as more Virginia women learn how proud Terry is of being a huge self-absorbed jerk toward his wife.

McAuliffe’s numbers aren’t just bad when compared to Obama, they’re bad compared to Creigh Deeds’s gubernatorial run in 2009, and that, Norm Leahy says, should have the rest of the ticket worried:

McAuliffe beats Cuccinelli by a big margin among nonwhite voters, 57 to 21 percent, but that is far from Obama’s tally of 83 to 16?percent in the state’s exit poll. Even state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) scored 76 percent among nonwhite voters in his unsuccessful 2009 gubernatorial bid.

Polling behind Creigh Deeds? That’s just painful. And for those hoping to appear on the Democratic ticket with McAuliffe, it’s also very troubling.

In a race where the number one issue among voters is Economy/Jobs/Unemployment (by a wide margin), Cuccinelli is more identified with the issues that matter than McAuliffe – economy/jobs/lower taxes is the first thing that comes to mind for registered voters when thinking of Cuccinelli while it is in 6th place on the list of things for McAuliffe, just behind “Dishonest/Corrupt”.

Ken Cuccinelli is in a stronger position to define himself while continuing to plant doubts in the minds of the electorate about Terry McAuliffe’s ability to govern. McAuliffe, despite trying to appeal to the Democratic base by painting Cuccinelli as an extremist, hasn’t convinced anyone yet. Six months is a long time, but McAuliffe’s already starting from behind.