Home 2021 Elections Wason Center Polls VA Gov, LG and AG Races: “McAuliffe, Herring have...

Wason Center Polls VA Gov, LG and AG Races: “McAuliffe, Herring have head starts among Democrats; Chase leads Cox, Snyder for Republican governor bid”

For LG, almost no voters have a preference, with no Dem candidate above 2% and no GOP candidate about 8%; Mark Herring leads 42%-3% for AG; Dems up 12 points for House of Delegates

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After a few “internal” polls of the governor’s and AG’s race (e.g., see Jennifer Carrol Foy’s here, Jennifer McClellan’s here and Mark Herring’s here), a couple public polls (e.g., see YouGov here and Mason-Dixon here) and some straw polls (e.g., see the Mt. Vernon Dems one here, the Hunter Mill Dems one here), we now have a public poll of *all* the statewide races – for governor, LG and AG on both the Dem and GOP sides – by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University. See below for the polling memo and the key findings. My takeaways are:

  • Clearly, as the Wason Center notes, at this point in the 2021 cycle, very high percentages of voters are undecided…particularly in the LG’s race for both Ds and Rs, as well as in the AG’s race on the Republican side, and also in the governor’s race on the Republican side.
  • For governor, huge percentages (in the 73%-91% range) have no opinion of the candidates, other than Terry McAuliffe (52% have no opinion of him) and Justin Fairfax (60% have no opinion of him). Also worth noting is Amanda chase, about whom 73% have no opinion, and among those who do have an opinion, 9% view her favorably vs. 14% who view her unfavorably.
  • On the Republican side, the gubernatorial “horse race” right now has 55% undecided (plus 7% “don’t know” or “refused”). Of the remaining 38% who actually expressed a preference, it’s Amanda Chase 17%-Kirk Cox 10%-Pete Snyder 6%-Glenn Youngkin 3%, with nobody else registering a political pulse at this point. Keep in mind that Republicans haven’t settled on a nomination method, so it’s basically impossible to know at the moment what the “universe” of Republican voters will be – a primary with potentially 100s of 1000s of voters? an unassembled convention with maybe 1000s of voters? the State Central Committee with 72 voters? other?)
  • On the Democratic side, the gubernatorial “horse race” right now has 49% undecided (plus 5% “don’t know” or “refused”). Of the remaining 46% who actually expressed a preference, it’s Terry McAuliffe 26%-Justin Fairfax 12%-Jennifer McClellan 4%-Jennifer Carroll Foy 4%-Lee Carter 1%.
  • On the Republican side for LG, basically voters have no clue, with 71% undecided plus 14% “don’t know” or “refused.” Of the remaining 15% of Republican voters who express a preference, Del. Glenn Davis leads at 8%, followed by former Del. Tim Hugo at 4%, Winsome Sears at 2% and Lance Allen at 1%.
  • On the Democratic side for LG, voters REALLY have no clue, with 78% undecided plus 9% “don’t know” or “refused,” leaving just 13% who express a preference, and those are completely scattered – either 2% or 1% for all the Democratic candidates. Can we say “this race is wide open” or what?!?
  • On the Republican side for AG, 68% of voters are undecided, plus 14% “don’t know” or “refused,” with 10% going for Chuck Smith, 5% for Leslie Haley and 3% for Del. Jason Miyares. Pretty much wide-open here as well.
  • On the Democratic side for AG, 50% are undecided (plus 5% “don’t know” or “refused.” Other than that, AG Mark Herring has a big lead, with 42% to Del. Jay Jones’ 3%.
  • For House of Delegates, Democrats have a 12-point lead right now, 49%-37%, with 13% undecided. That’s a very good sign, as long as Democrats actually turn out in November.
  • Gov. Northam’s approval rating is at 54%-40%, with 83%-8% of Democrats approving, while only 17% of Republicans approve of his job performance.
  • Democrats mostly (76%) feel that things are going in the RIGHT direction in Virginia right now, while among Republicans, 78% feel that things are going in the WRONG direction.
  • “The results of this poll are based on 1,005 interviews of registered Virginia voters, including 419 on landline and 586 on cell phone, conducted January 31- February 14, 2021.” Apparently, Wason went with registered as opposed to likely voters because they wanted to ask about the Republican field, and there’s basically no way to determine likely voters on that side. The problem is that registered voters, almost by definition, are going to be following this stuff a LOT less closely than *likely* voters, which will artificially raise the “undecided” and “don’t know” categories. I’d be interested in seeing what the Democratic races, at least, look like with *likely* voter screens in place.

 

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