ARLINGTON, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are set to discuss Virginia’s energy future at the latest forum in the bitterly contested race for governor.

Thursday’s forum in Arlington is sponsored by the Consumer Energy Alliance.

At previous forums, the candidates have strayed far from the topic at hand to attack each other’s character and integrity.

A poll released last week showed the businessman and Democratic fundraiser McAuliffe with a six-point lead over Cuccinelli, who is Virginia’s attorney general.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows 48 percent of those surveyed support McAuliffe to 42 percent who favor Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general.

Among the factors contributing to McAuliffe’s edge: He leads Cuccinelli among female voters, more Republicans say they would back McAuliffe than Democrats who say they’d support Cuccinelli, and McAuliffe slightly leads his opponent on the questions of who voters consider more honest and trustworthy.

The candidates have hammered each other in television ads, with each trying to link the other to scandal.

Leading up to the forum, Republicans have tried to paint McAuliffe as anti-coal, while Democrats have said Cucinnelli’s office sided with energy companies in disputes with Virginia landowners over natural gas royalties.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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