Home 2017 Races WaPo Poll: Tom Perriello 40%-Ralph Northam 38% with 26 Days to Go

WaPo Poll: Tom Perriello 40%-Ralph Northam 38% with 26 Days to Go


With 26 days to go until the Virginia Democratic primary, it’s “as tight as the rusted lug nuts on a ’55 Ford,” as Dan Rather liked to say, according to a brand-new Washington Post poll. Here are the highlights.

  • Among Democratic-identifying likely voters, Tom Perriello leads Ralph Northam 40%-38%.
  • Among Democratic-idenfitying registered voters, Perriello leads Northam 35%-29%.
  • Perriello leads among men (36%-27%) and women (35%-30%).
  • Perriello leads huge (41%-21%) among voters age 18-39 and by just 4 points (34%-30%) among voters age 40-64. Northam leads big (43%-27%) among voters age 65+
  • Perriello leads by a 36%-30% margin among white voters and by a 35%-29% margin among non-white voters.
  • Regionally, Perriello is crushing it (58%-20%) in SW Virginia, also leads big (40%-30%) in the Richmond area and leads narrowly (23%-22%) in Northern Virginia. Not surprisingly, Northam leads big (40%-28%) in his home region of Tidewater.
  • Democratic likely voters split evenly (36%-36%) on whether Perriello or Northam would have a better chance of beating the Republican nominee in November.
  • By a 38%-30% margin, Democratic likely voters believe that Perriello “would do more to stand up against Donald Trump” than Northam would.
  • By a 35%-32% margin (basically a tie), Democratic likely voters say that Perriello “better reflects the core values of the Democratic Party.”
  • By an enormous 57%-15% margin, Democratic likely voters say that endorsements by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren make them more likely to vote for Perriello.
  • Also by an enormous margin (50%-17%), Democratic likely voters say that endorsements by Gov. McAuliffe and “nearly all Virginia Democrats in Congress and the state legislature” of Ralph Northam make them more likely to vote for Northam.
  • Among Hillary Clinton supporters in the 2016 Virginia Democratic presidential primary, it’s 35% Northam-34% Perriello (note: so much for the simplistic media narrative about this race?). Among Bernie Sanders supporters, it’s Perriello 40%-Northam 22%.
  • 56% of Virginia registered voters say they are following the governor’s race “very closely” (15%) or “somewhat closely” (40%)

Also worth noting is that Northam has been outspending Perriello heavily (I’ve heard as much as 5:1) on TV yet he still trails by two points. The question is, what happens if that spending gap closes in the final 3+ weeks? On a related note, Northam has spent a bunch money in the Hampton Roads TV market but he’s only up 12 there, with a large number of undecided voters. Hmmmmmm…

P.S. The latest Q-Poll, from mid-April, had this race at Perriello 25%-Northam 20% with 51% (!) undecided. Looks like a lot fewer undecided voters in the WaPo poll, but a similar margin for Perriello among registered voters (5 points in the Q-Poll, 6 points in the WaPo poll).

  • Philip Whitman

    It’s definitely an interesting race. I commented here in January that I was still voting for Northam, but Perriello has given me a lot to think about.

    • To me, one of the most interesting findings in this poll is that young voters break so heavily for Tom Perriello, while Ralph leads only among 65+ voters. So this really comes down to whether or not Tom is able to bring out younger voters in large numbers on June 13…

    • Aileen Caldwell Laing

      I was torn until I learned that Northam voted for W twice AND almost became a republican in 09 which would have flipped the senate. Those are huge red flags for me. That and he takes Dominion Power $$$ who are trying to force high power lines through my neighborhood.

  • Travis Neal

    This poll is garbage. Less than 350 voters surveyed? The sample size alone grossly skews the percentages. Did they survey all of 5 people in SW with 3 for Perriello, 1 for Northam, and 1 undecided? (satirical math) Regardless, I still can’t believe any Democrats, let alone “progressive” ones, would be fooled by smooth talk and campaign rhetoric from someone who has flip-flopped on multiple issues that are essential to the Democratic Party, like women’s health, public education and charter schools, gun safety measures, offshore drilling (which he sponsored legislation for with ultra conservative Republicans like Eric Cantor).. I thought the thing that set Dems apart from folks like Trump voters were the appreciation for facts and records, not lofty promises that are based in fantasy..

    • Washington Post: “The margin of sampling error for individual percentage results is plus or minus 4.5 points among the sample of 654 Democratic-leaning registered voters”

      • Gail Nedrick

        Republicans voted to allow mentally ill people who can’t handle their own money to buy guns and cut funding for schools, community service like meals on wheels. Cut funding for many other things that the average family depend on so that the rich people can get huge tax cuts.

    • Hilary Gibson

      Neither of this week’s poll was great tbh. The PPP poll had a larger sample – 745 LV in D primary – but 46% were 60 or older. Yes off year primary skews older but that seems extreme.

  • Video: ‘Perriello for the Common Good’


  • Withheld Information

    Not really concerned. With the grassroots fundraising Northam has been able to pull and the regional endorsements from crucial groups, as well as the likely depressed turnout we’re to get for the primary, Northam will take it.

    • Hilary Gibson

      Won’t know until after the primary but am curious what Perriello’s 4/1-6/30 contributions will look like. He went up to NYC to fund raise last week which was surprising. If he’s the one with momentum, how is he not pulling in enough in VA? Maybe donations from the Our Revolution email list have been lighter than expected…


      • “Won’t know until after the primary”

        The next campaign finance report is due on June 5, which is eight days before the primary, so…that’s not correct.

        • Hilary Gibson

          Oooh. I had just assumed it was quarterly. Thanks for the correction.

  • Andria Padgett McClellan

    I am FOR Northam, but not against Periello. Tom’s a good guy (and a great campaigner), but Northam is the far better candidate for THIS position for *many* reasons, not the least of which is Ralph Northam is the best person to work with ALL members of the General Assembly to get something done. He is respected by both sides of the aisle in both the Senate and the House of Delegates, and this is crucial to actually getting anything accomplished in Richmond. Tom is not known, doesn’t have the extensive relationships or respect that Ralph has in Richmond. Or, around the Commonwealth. Ralph has earned my vote for his many years of service, and I’m proud to be supporting him.

    All that said, I worry that the Dems are beating each other up in the run up to June 13th. We need to remember that the primary winner, regardless of the outcome, will still need our support come June 14th!

  • Just a reminder that both Dems have “F” ratings from the NRA, while all three Republicans have “A” ratings…