On September 18, Quinnipiac Polls released a poll for the Virginia gubernatorial race, showing Libertarian Rob Sarvis at 7%. Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe is at 44% and Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli is at 41%. Undecided is at 8%.
When Quinnipiac last did a Virginia gubernatorial poll, on July 16, it did not ask respondents about Sarvis. The July 16 poll showed that “someone else” (which had to be volunteered by the respondent) was only 1%. Thanks to PoliticalWire for the link.
It is not true that polls necessarily overstate actual support for minor party and independent candidates. In November 2012, the actual results for three Libertarian U.S. Senate candidates were approximately as high as the polls had suggested. Andrew Horning in Indiana got 5.67%, Jonathan Dine in Missouri got 6.07%, and Dan Cox in Montana got 6.56%.