RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) - A majority of Virginia Republicans say they would give Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli the party's nomination in the 2013 governor's race, according to a new poll pitting him against Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

On Tuesday, Public Policy Polling, based in Raleigh, N.C., released the results of a poll taken July 21-24.

The polling company surveyed 400 Virginia Republican primary voters.

PPP said the race for governor could be "fertile ground" for a candidate of the far right.

According to the results, Cuccinelli leads Bolling 45 to 21 percent.

The pollster said the attorney general is strongest with "very conservatives" with whom he leads Bolling 56 to 15 percent.

However, even moderates give Cuccinelli the edge, 40 to 22 percent.

And while both politicians are well liked, the survey showed Cuccinelli is much better known than Bolling, rating 56 to 15 percent compared to Bolling's 28 to 13 percent.

Cuccinelli is particularly well known for his more conservative leanings.

The attorney general last year filed a lawsuit against President Barack Obama's federal health care reform.

He argues that requiring individuals to purchase health insurance or face a monetary penalty -- as required by the new law -- violates Virginia's Healthcare Freedom Act.

Cuccinelli also has come out against climate change findings.

In March, the Virginia Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving Cuccinelli and the University of Virginia in the matter of climate research by a former university professor.

The university, in separate filings in October, had asked a court to set aside the attorney general's latest demand, which targeted "the same professor on the same grounds that the court already found insufficient," it argued.

Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. of Albemarle County Circuit Court had set aside the attorney general's original civil investigative demand issued on Aug. 30.

However, on Sept. 29, Cuccinelli submitted a narrower demand, seeking information on one $214,700 grant issued by the university to former professor Michael Mann and two other researchers.

Citing Virginia's Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, the attorney general said he wanted to investigate whether Mann used fraudulent data to obtain the funds.

Mann, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at the university from 1999 to 2005, is known for his research on global warming. He now teaches at Pennsylvania State University.

It was Mann who produced the widely publicized "hockey stick" graph showing a sharp increase in global average temperatures in the industrial age.

His work was called into question in the investigations into the so-called Climategate scandal following the unauthorized release of hundreds of emails from a British climate center.

However, several investigations, including an extensive review of his research by Penn State, have cleared him of academic misconduct.

The margin of error for the PPP survey is plus or minus 4.9 percent.

According to the polling company, the survey was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. Its surveys were conducted through automated telephone interviews.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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