But if the attacks are meant to damage the candidates in the minds of the voters, the numbers also show that to a certain extent they’re working.
Thirty-nine percent of voters in the Quinnipiac polling thought Mr. McAuliffe was honest and trustworthy last month — the same number as this month. But the percentage of voters who think he’s not honest and trustworthy jumped six points over that period, from 36 percent to 42 percent.
Mr. Cuccinelli experienced a similar backward shift. Forty-two percent of voters last month said he was honest and trustworthy, compared to 43 percent who said he was not. That split jumped to 39 percent trustworthy to 49 percent untrustworthy in the Quinnipiac poll this week.
And, in the end, style might trump substance — or at least come close.
“The nature of this campaign has been calling the other candidate unfit for office,” Mr. Holsworth said. “It’s not a contest of ideas.”