Michael Mann, the scientist targeted by Cuccinelli who now works at Penn State University, isn't buying that prediction.
In an interview, Mann said he believes Cuccinelli's Tea Party affiliation and far-right positions will alienate Virginia's moderates. The first-ever survey in the state of climate attitudes from 2008 found that 75 percent of Virginians believe Earth is warming, with about 40 percent saying humans are to blame. Current Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, believes climate change is caused by a combination of natural processes and human activities.
"[Cuccinelli's] antipathy towards science and his anti-environmental views are way out of step with the vast majority of Virginians," Mann said.
Echoing others, Nayak said, "A lot of people will be watching the state carefully."