Gillespie Maintains Commanding Lead in GOP Race; Democrats in Dead Heat in Gubernatorial Race

The Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University released data earlier today showing Republican Ed Gillespie with a comfortable lead over his competition for the GOP nomination for governor; Democrat Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, who once was thought would be coronated, is in a neck-and-neck race with former Congressman Tom Perriello, in that contest.

The poll shows Perriello andNortham tied at 26 percent, even though Perriello joined the race just this past January. According to Wason, “Northam’s share of the vote has not changed since the Wason Center poll released on Feb. 2, while Perriello has gained 11 points.”

However, not all Democrats are thrilled with the turn of events.

“.. Here’s Perrriello running in a Democratic Primary, okay, all of the sudden he’s doing mea culpa, okay, on guns, abortion, the environment, you name it, I mean this guy, I mean, he – more flip flops than anybody I’ve ever seen and the public’s not going to buy that,” said State Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw in a recent appearance on The John Fredericks Show.

“Just a few months ago, nobody expected that the real action in this primary would be on the Democratic side, but that’s where it is,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “With Sanders voters tilting to Perriello and Clinton voters preferring Northam, the Democratic primary for governor looks to be a replay of last year’s presidential primary.”

For Gillespie, it seems like his path is fairly straightforward, sitting at 38 points, with a huge lead over Prince William County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart (11%) and Virginia Beach state Sen. Frank Wagner (10%).

“A Trump effect adds some uncertainty to the Republican contest,” said Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director. “Gillespie, the establishment favorite, is underperforming among voters who preferred Trump to all those insider Republicans last year. But Stewart and Wagner don’t seem to be picking them up, either.”

Stewart and Wagner were both Trump’s campaign co-chairs in Virginia at one point last year.

The Wason Center will have general election head-to-head matchup information out tomorrow.

  • mezurak

    Ed could easily be None And Done.

  • S Fisher

    Disappointed that Denver Riggleman left the race…might have made it interesting.

  • BrianKirwin

    20% of those polled didn’t vote in the Presidential election. That’s a huge red flag.

    • Lawrence Wood

      I missed that thanks for pointing it out. I agree it’s yet another red flag along with the very large amount of polled undecideds. It’s difficult for me to take much definitive away from this Watson Center effort.

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  • Leon Wilkeson

    Not surprising. I think that conservatives are looking for someone /anyone with some sense of decorum and class. When your most vocal constituency is rednecks with flagpoles in the bed of their pickups, you’re not what we need. I’m not even talking about policy – it’s much more superficial than that. I agree with some of Trump’s ideas, but I’m sick of him. I was sick of him after about 2 days of his candidacy.
    It’s like Corky is throwing redneck hail Marys trying to channel DT – I say this as a guy who grew up in SWVA and currently drives a pickup. I’m over asshattery.

    • Downstater

      Leon, Not all of us who oppose moving the Charlottesville statue are rednecks. It is time we stand up to those on the left who we have allowed to redefine and vilify our state’s heritage.

      • Leon Wilkeson

        No beef with that whatsoever, in fact I completely agree…but it’s not something on which you entirely base your candidacy.

  • MD Russ

    In related news Rosie O’Donnell, who has been a paid spokesman for Sarah Lee Cheesecakes and Snap-On Tools, has endorsed Democrat Susan Platt for Lieutenant Governor. O’Donnell has called for a ban on all handguns in the United States, except for her private bodyguards who carry concealed while escorting her kids to and from school.

    This is not a good endorsement, Susan.

  • Lawrence Wood

    Interesting you didn’t mention the “undecideds” polled in this Watson Center mess which was at 38% by the way and also the lowest undecided percentage listed among any of the other state polls published to date with by the way also the smallest polling sample and largest margin of error. So a commanding lead translates into after months of campaigning a polling percentage not significantly higher then the early upfront name recognition polls for these candidates and an enormous glob of undecided.

    Interesting definition of commanding Gillespie lead. I assume believers want to believe and data be damned but this isn’t a very realistic projection unless you have additional internal campaign polling that places a significant portion of these undecideds in the Gillespie ledger. The undecided swing variable here for a primary race this late in the cycle is “massive” and that can’t be a good sign for any name recognition based candidate like Gillespie or anyone else that happens to be in that position. Unless someone has further vetted data to bring forward I don’t believe anyone has a solid clue what is going to unfold on June 13th. Partisan opinions maybe but facts – no.

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