According to RealClear Politics, there are three new polls out today of the Virginia governor’s race: The Polling Company, Rasmussen Reports, and Roanoke College. I’m basically going to ignore the first one, because we’re talking about Kellyanne Conway’s polling firm sold to GOP PR shop. ‘Nuff said, other than – for the record – they claim that Ed Gillespie is up 3 points (46%-43%) over Ralph Northam.
Now, on to the plausible polls. Yes, I’m counting Rasmussen Reports as plausible, even though it’s a Republican-leaning outfit. Why? Because in 2013, they were right with the rest of the polling pack, with Terry McAuliffe up 7 points over Ken Cuccinelli a week out from the election. Given that McAuliffe ended up winning by just 2.5 points, it’s hard to accuse Rasmussen of being biased against Democrats, at least in that case. As for 2017, Rasmussen has the race tied, 45%-45%. Now, one possible indication this poll could be biased towards Republicans is the Trump approval numbers – “Forty-five percent (45%) approve of the job Trump is doing; 54% disapprove.” That’s significantly higher than almost any other poll I’ve seen of Virginia, which generally have Trump in the upper 30s to maybe 40%. So…who knows, but something to keep in mind.
The last poll is the one I take most seriously in the sense that it’s definitely not a Republican outfit – Roanoke College. Here are the key takeaways from that poll.
- “Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie are tied (47%-47%), while Libertarian Cliff Hyra garners three percent of likely voters, and only three percent remain undecided.”
- “Democrat Justin Fairfax and Republican Jill Vogel are tied (45%-45%) in the race for lieutenant governor, and incumbent Democrat Mark Herring and Republican John Adams are also tied (46%-46%) in the attorney general contest.”
- Top voter concerns, as usual, are the economy and health care, followed by education.
- “More than half of those polled (53%) disapprove of the way President Donald Trump his handling his job, and just over one-third (36%) approve.” Those numbers look about right, which again makes me take this poll a lot more seriously than Rasmussen.
- Northam leads 84%-9% among African-American voters, while Gillespie leads 57%-36% among whites.
- Northam leads 89%-4% among liberals and 56%-34% among “moderates,” while Gillespie leads 81%-17% among conservatives. These crosstabs don’t seem to mesh with the overall results, as liberals plus “moderates” combined should far outnumber conservatives alone. Weird.
- Northam leads in Northern Virginia (54%-42%), Tidewater (50%-42%) and Richmond/Central VA (47%-43%), while Gillespie leads in Southwest VA (59%-37%), Southside (52%-33%) and the Shenandoah Valley (60%-36%).
Bottom line: Coming down the home stretch, this race looks very tight, that is if you put any stock in the polling of course. So…let’s make sure we get out our voters, because this could all come down to turnout on Tuesday.