Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam continues to lead Republican Edward W. Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race with 48 percent compared to 43 percent for Gillespie, according to a Big League-Gravis p0ll poll of 1,788 registered voters conducted Oct. 30 through Nov. 5.
“In the last day of our last poll we saw Gillespie pick up three points, so we wanted to do a new poll to capture what seemed to be a late Gillespie surge that stopped over the weekend,” said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based firm that executed the poll. The poll carries a 2.3 percent margin of error.
Libertarian Cliff Hydra has the support of 3 percent of the voters with 7 percent undecided, he said. With roundings, the totals exceed 100 percent. Election Day is Nov. 7.
“What is tricky about polling an off-cycle, because the temptation is the use the turnout model from the presidential campaign the year before, but it is not the same,” Kaplan said.
“In Virginia, Republicans have a stronger tradition of showing up to vote, but a Republican has won a statewide election since 2009,” he said. “That year the Republicans were catching the early ramping up of the Tea Party wave and Bob McDonnell won the governor’s race with his ‘Bob’s for Jobs’ slogan–that was a long time ago.”
Kaplan said that among “Very Likely” voters, Northam leads Gillespie with 50 percent to Gillespie’s 45 percent.
Gillespie won a tight primary with the one-time state chairman of the 2016 Trump campaign Corey Stewart, with 44 percent to Stewart’s 43 percent.
A source familiar with the relationship between Stewart and Gillespie, but not authorized to speak to the media, told Big League Politics that Gillespie has refused all of Stewart’s offers to help.
The source said Stewart, who is the chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, repeatedly made himself availble to Gillespie, but the answer was always “no thanks,” if there was a reply at all.
Gillespie wants to win it on his own without owning anyone, which means he is also willing to lose, rather than accept help from the Bannon-Trump wing of the state party, the source said.
“Diehl is completely different,” the source said. “Diehl and Corey always talking and Corey has helped him a lot,” the source said. Massachusetts Republican state Rep. Geoffrey G. Diehl is challenging Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) in 2018. Diehl was the chairman of Trump’s Bay State campaign.
Stewart is challenging Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) in 2018.
Thirty-nine percent of the respondents were Democrats, 34 percent were Republicans and 27 percent identified as Independent.
Fifty-three percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of President Donald J. Trump with 36 percent saying they had a favorable opinion.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Democrat Gov. Terence R. McAuliffe with 37 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion.
In the other races, Democrat Attorney General Mark R. Herring leads Republican John Adams, 47 percent to 42 percent and Republican state Sen. Jill H. Vogel trails Democrat Justin Fairfax, with 41 percent to 46 percent for Fairfax.
The survey was conducted using interactive voice responses and an online panel of cell phones users. The results are weighted to match a proprietary voter turnout model.
Check out the poll’s crosstabs here: