Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe's roaring campaign has jumped out to a 17-point lead over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, aided greatly by the public support of Hillary Clinton and the government shutdown, according to a stunning new Rasmussen Reports poll.

In the poll, likely voters preferred McAuliffe over Cuccinelli 50 percent to 33 percent. Third-party candidate Robert Sarvis receives 8 percent support. McAuliffe’s lead is his largest to date.

It follows another poll released Tuesday showing the former Democratic Party chairman leading Cuccinelli among early voters. Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling said that McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli 57 percent to 39 percent in their survey of early voters. The poll also found that Sarvis is receiving just 3 percent of the vote, though Cuccinelli doesn't seem to be benefiting.

Cuccinelli's campaign expressed confidence, dismissing the polls. "In this race, there has been lots of polling and lots of very bad polling. In two weeks, voters will decide," said spokeswoman Anna Nix.

Rasmussen's poll of 1,000 likely voters took place Oct. 20, as Hillary Clinton was campaigning for McAuliffe. The Clintons are continuing to appear for the Democrat.

In the poll, 52 percent said they had a favorable view of the former secretary of state and she clearly has helped McAuliffe. Residents also expressed disgust at the government shutdown, which McAuliffe has hit Cuccinelli over.

But McAuliffe has also held his own and more on key issues that typically favor Republicans, said Rasmussen. For example, Virginia voters trust McAuliffe more than Cuccinelli to control government spending, taxes and social issues like abortion.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at