Home 2021 Elections New “Internal” Jennifer Carroll Foy Campaign Poll: Terry McAuliffe Starts Off Ahead...

New “Internal” Jennifer Carroll Foy Campaign Poll: Terry McAuliffe Starts Off Ahead By Wide Margin, But After Positive and Negative Messaging Are Read, Carroll Foy “vaults solidly into the lead”

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See below for a new, “internal” poll by the Global Strategy Group (B/C rated by FiveThirtyEight.com) Jennifer Carroll Foy for Governor campaign, an “online survey of 600 likely Democratic primary election voter” conducted from 1/12 to 1/20. I also had a chance to chat with the Carroll Foy campaign, see below for highlights from the poll and from my conversation with the Carroll Foy campaign

  • The initial results from the Carroll Foy “internal” poll are somewhat similar to the YouGov poll that came out this past Friday (and had Terry McAuliffe at 43%, Jennifer McClellan at 8%, Jennifer Carroll Foy at 7%, Lee Carter at 6% and Justin Fairfax at 6%). Carroll Foy’s “internal” has it as follows, BEFORE providing a “balanced introduction of all the candidates”: McAuliffe 42%-Fairfax 14%-Carroll Foy 7%-McClellan 6% (note that Carter wasn’t included in this “internal” poll, the question being how much of a difference his inclusion would have made in the results).
  • Anyway, McAuliffe starts out essentially the same as in the YouGov poll (42% in the “internal” vs. 43% in YouGov), while Fairfax is higher (14% in the “internal” vs. 6% in YouGov), Carroll Foy is the same (7% in each) and McClellan is a bit lower (6% in the “internal” vs. 8% in YouGov).
  • In my conversation with the Carroll Foy campaign, she told me that the poll demographics were: 60% women; relatively well educated; 31% older than 65, 39% 45-64; 63% white, 30% Black; 42% from the DC media market, 21% from the Richmond area, 20% from Hampton Roads, 9% from Roanoke/SW Virginia.
  • According to the polling memo for the Carroll Foy “internal” poll: “After a balanced introduction of all the candidates, the race becomes a two-person contest between Jennifer Carroll Foy and Terry McAuliffe…Carroll Foy’s vote share swells by 20 percentage points (27% Carroll Foy/37% McAuliffe/14% Fairfax/11% McClellan). Notably, there is no other significant movement among the other candidates after a neutral presentation of each their biographies, and McAuliffe loses ground.”
  • That one somewhat surprised me, as I would have expected a “balanced introduction” of the candidates to result in increases for both Carroll Foy and McClellan, since those two each have relatively low name ID compared to McAuliffe and also Fairfax. Instead, according to the Carroll Foy campaign’s polling memo, Carroll Foy’s support increased significantly (by 20 points, from 7% to 27%), while McClellan’s went up by 5 points (from 6% to 11%), Fairfax’s support stayed at 14% and McAuliffe’s fell by 5 points (from 42% to 37%).
  • According to the polling memo: “Carroll Foy pulls ahead in the polling (36% Carroll Foy/33% McAuliffe/11% Fairfax/10% McClellan) after voters are exposed to a series of positive messages about her, her positions, and her experience.
  • So after positive messaging about Carroll Foy, she increased her vote share in the poll from 27% to 36% (+9 points), while McAuliffe fell from 37% to 33% (-4 points), Fairfax slipped from 14% to 11% (-3 points) and McClellan went from 11% to 10% (-1 point).
  • Finally, according to the Carroll Foy campaign’s polling memo: “When voters hear about McAuliffe’s corruption scandal and ties to monied special interests, Carroll Foy vaults solidly into the lead in the race for governor (42% Carroll Foy/23% McAuliffe/11% Fairfax/9% McClellan).”
  • So basically, after “negatives” about McAuliffe were read – and according to the Carroll Foy campaign, those were only tested vs. McAuliffe – Carroll Foy went up another 6 points (from 36% to 42%), while McClellan fell by 1 point (from 10% to 9%), Fairfax stayed the same (at 11%), and McAuliffe dropped by 10 points (from 33% to 23%).
  • The question, of course, is whether this might happen in the actual campaign, when obviously it’s not just a pollster delivering a negative message about a particular candidate, without that candidate being able to fire back, put out their own positive messaging (and McAuliffe will certainly have tons of money to be able to do that), etc. Let’s just say I’m skeptical, in part based on previously having seen these types of polls in action (e.g., in 2014, after the VA08 Dem primary which Don Beyer won easily, one of the other candidates showed me an “internal” they had hired a pollster to do, where they tested “negatives” and other messaging, and how it showed a supposed “path to victory” for this candidate which…let’s just say, it didn’t work out that way!) Still, I think this “internal” poll is an interesting “data point”; now, we’ll see what happens in the actual, real-life campaign.

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