The government shutdown has been great for Terry McAuliffe, the democratic candidate for governor in Virginia. A new Quinnipiac poll found it has played a big role in helping McAuliffe double his lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in less than a month. From Quinnipiac:

Almost half of Virginia likely voters say State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is “too conservative,” as the Republican trails Democrat Terry McAuliffe 47 – 39 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis has 8 percent.

This compares to the results of a September 18 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, showing McAuliffe at 44 percent, with 41 percent for Cuccinelli and 7 percent for Sarvis. [...]

Voters oppose 71 – 24 percent shutting down the federal government to block the health care law. Opposition is 98 – 1 percent among Democrats and 70 – 25 percent among independent voters, while Republicans are divided with 48 percent supporting the shutdown and 45 percent opposed.

But 58 percent of voters say they are not personally inconvenienced by the shutdown.

McAulliffe held a small lead for most of the race but the shutdown effectively guaranteed him an easy victory next month.

I know I’m probably sounding like a broken record but this really is a major political story. I’ve never seen a party needlessly do so much damage to itself in less than a month with nothing of substance to show for it. The Republicans party seems to have come unmoored from even the basic political concerns, which has traditional kept things running during divided government.

It would be fascinating, if not so incredibly destructive.

Photo by Isle Concierge under Creative Commons license