Short answer: most of them were very accurate. First, here are the final results.
Beyer 46%, Hope 18%, Ebbin 14%, Euille 8%, Levine 7%, Chatman 5%, Hyra 1%.
Now, here’s what the polls were saying.
Bruce Shuttleworth “internal” (5/1-5/5): Undecided 31%; Beyer 30%; Hope and Ebbin 9% each; Euille 8%; Chatman, Herring, Shuttleworth and Levine 3% each; Hyra 0%.
Blue Virginia poll – Alexandria (5/1): Beyer 37%, Undecided 23%, Euille 14%, Ebbin 13%, Herring 5%, Chatman 3%, Shuttleworth and Hope 2%, Levine 1%.
Blue Virginia poll – Adam Ebbin’s Senate district (5/1): Beyer 39%, Undecided 26%, Ebbin 15%, Euille 10%, Chatman 5%, Hope 2%, Levine and Shuttleworth 1.5%.
Blue Virginia poll – Patrick Hope’s House district (5/1): Hope 44%, Undecided 28%, Beyer 21%, Ebbin 3%, Chatman 2%, Shuttleworth 1%, Herring 1%, Levine 1%, Euille 0%.
Also, internal polls from the Hope campaign had it somewhere in the range of Beyer mid 40s, Hope and Ebbin mid teens, others under 10%. And an early poll by Mark Sickles, right before he dropped out, reportedly had Beyer far ahead, with everyone else far behind. (Note: one other campaign’s internals – the candidate and campaign shall remain nameless because I’m such a nice guy, lol – were correct on Beyer, but wildly off on their own candidate, most likely because they read a positive description of their candidate and/or did other things to skew the results)
In the end, Beyer won easily, in the mid-40s as just about every poll and “pundit” (with a couple of glaring exceptions, such as one who claimed nobody had any idea who was going to win – lol!!!) had predicted would happen. Hope and Ebbin were the runners up, both in the teens (although Hope slightly higher and Ebbin slightly lower) than the polls had been indicating. Keep in mind that “undecided” votes in the polls ended up going for a candidate, and generally it seems they went to Beyer, Hope, and Ebbin, in that order, with a few points going to Levine as well, probably due to his TV advertising.
As for the Blue Virginia polls focusing in on specific districts, we were very close in Alexandria, where Beyer ended up at 44%, Ebbin at 21%, Euille at 17%, and everyone else far behind. Almost exactly as predicted when you apportion the “undecided” voters. As for Ebbin’s district, I calculated that Beyer received 44% and Ebbin 22%, which is totally consistent with the BV poll. I haven’t yet calculated Hope’s district, but the VPAP map makes it clear that Hope did well in his own district (although his margins came down somewhat from what the BV poll was showing 6 weeks before Election Day), while Beyer won Arlington overall, with Hope in second place. Finally, we didn’t poll all of Fairfax County, but we assumed that Beyer would do very well in Falls Church and the rest of Fairfax County, and that’s exactly what happened.
So, bottom line? No surprises at all, really. The polls, internal and public (e.g., Blue Virginia’s) were basically spot-on accurate. All of which raises the big question: why didn’t candidates who had no chance drop out, or if they did drop out why didn’t they drop out a lot sooner than they did? My personal theory: campaign consultants who have a vested interest in keeping the “gravy train” flowing for themselves by persuading their candidate to stay in the race because they “can win if they just do x, y, z” (mostly spend money when and where the consultants tell them). Note to candidates: do not trust most consultants as far as you can throw them.