But Republicans could also gain, said Gene Beaupre, a political science professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Taking a cost-cutting position against unions is part of the mantra for far-right groups like the Tea Party, and not necessarily unpopular.
Mr. Cuccinelli's conservative views make him no stranger to controversy. Before his election as attorney general in November 2009, he served nearly eight years in the State Senate, where he was known for his hard-right stances on illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, gun control and abortion and for clashing with moderates within his party.
A Nexis search indicates Times reporters have used "hard-right" five times in the last two years to describe an American political figure or movement. Columnist Paul Krugman and Frank Rich have also used the term several times. By contrast, no Times reporter, columnist, or editorial writer has used the term "hard-left" to describe an American political figure or movement a single time in the last two years.
- Clay Waters is director of Times Watch . You can follow him on Twitter .