2 Polls Show Narrow Race

Both sides are at near parity in TV spending this week.

Oct. 18, 2017, 11:37 a.m.

Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) posted his first nominal lead of the general-election campaign, 48-47 percent over Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in a new Monmouth University poll (Oct. 12-16; 408 LVs; +/-4.9%). Cliff Hyra (L) got 3 percent.

“Overall voter opinion of Gillespie is split at 41% favorable and 37% unfavorable. … Overall voter opinion of Northam is more positive at 40% favorable and 27% unfavorable.”

“[F]ew voters say” President Trump “is a major factor in their vote for governor. … Just over 4-in-10 Commonwealth voters say Trump is either a major (29%) or minor factor (14%) in their gubernatorial vote choice. … In Northern Virginia, however, more than half (54%) say Trump is a factor in their vote. … The president’s job rating among all likely voters stands at 38% approve and 55% disapprove. … His rating is more negative, though, among NoVa voters at 20%-73%.”

“Nearly half of likely voters (48%) say Gillespie understands the day to day concerns of people like them, while 39% say he does not. Similarly, 45% of voters say Northam understands the day to day concerns of people like them, while 39% say he does not.”

Term-limited Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) “earns a 49% approve and 37% disapprove rating from voters likely to cast ballots in this year’s race.”

“Northam has expanded his vote share in Northern Virginia to 64% over 32% for Gillespie. … Gillespie, on the other hand, has built up his lead in the conservative western part of the Commonwealth, now with a 64% to 31% lead over Northam there. … Eastern Virginia—Northam’s home region which backed Democrats in recent elections for governor and U.S. Senate - has become more competitive, now split at 48% for the Republican and 45% for the Democrat. … Central Virginia—which tends to be a swing region - remains tight at 47% for Gillespie and 44% for Northam.”

“Gillespie is preferred over Northam on handling jobs and the economy by a 41% to 29% margin. … Gillespie now has a 43% to 24% advantage on the jobs issue in Eastern Virginia. … Gillespie also maintains his advantage on handling crime—40% of Virginia voters prefer the Republican and 24% choose the Democrat. … He has enjoyed big gains on this concern in Western Virginia, where he now holds a 55% to 13% advantage over Northam. … Northam … continues to have the upper hand when it comes to handling health care (42% to 32%) and education (39% to 27%).” (release)

But Northam led 50-44 percent in a Roanoke College poll (Oct. 8-13; 607 LVs; +/-4%) with Hyra taking 2 percent.

“Both Northam (38%-28%) and Gillespie (38%-33%) are viewed more favorably than unfavorably by voters. While 20 percent still don’t know enough about Gillespie to have an opinion about him, and 27 percent don’t know enough about Northam, both figures continue to decline.”

“Northam leads among ideological moderates (61%-28%), and holds an insignificant lead among political Independents (45%-42%). Northam has the support of 94 percent of Democrats, while Gillespie is supported by 93 percent of Republicans. Liberals favor Northam (89%-3%) while Conservatives prefer Gillespie (81%-15%).”

“More than half of those polled (58%) disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job, and just over one-third (35%) approve. … At the same time, a majority (56%) of respondents have an unfavorable view of him, while 34 percent have a favorable impression of Trump.

“A majority (64%) of Virginians think the country is on the wrong track, while 30 percent think it is headed in the right direction. Congressional job approval sits at 10 percent.

“A plurality of likely voters (48%) think that Virginia is heading in the right direction, while 40 percent think it has gotten off on the wrong track. Almost half (48%) approve of the job … McAuliffe is doing as governor, while 35 percent disapprove. … McAuliffe is viewed favorably by 41% of respondents.

“The Republican Party is viewed unfavorably by 47 percent of likely voters (36% favorable), while the Democratic Party is seen favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 41 percent.” (release)

MORE MONEY… Northam is outspending Gillespie on TV this week, but the NRA’s ads mean conservatives have spent about as much as Northam and People for the American Way this week combined. (Virginia Public Access Project)

More national money is also pouring into state groups. The state Republican Party transferred another $331,000 from its federal account. (Virginia Public Access Project) The NDRC’s VA chapter reported a a $250,000 contribution from the National Democratic Club. (Virginia Public Access Project) And the League of Conservation Voters sent another $200,000 to its state chapter. (Virginia Public Access Project)

…MORE PROBLEMS. Northam’s campaign “printed some fliers that excluded a picture of ticket mate Justin Fairfax to accommodate a union [Laborers’ International Union of North America] that has endorsed Northam but not Fairfax. The fliers appear similar to others that include all three Democrats on the statewide ballot Nov. 7: Northam; Fairfax, the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor; and Attorney General Mark R. Herring. The fliers are handed out by canvassers knocking on doors. … Those fliers have been used in Northern Virginia. … Fairfax is among the environmentalist Democratic base in Virginia that’s opposed to the pipelines. Northam does not oppose the pipelines.”

Northam campaign spokesman David Turner: “Out of over 3 million pieces of literature printed for the campaign, this literature constituted less than roughly 0.5% of the literature printed. … These doors have also received the regular literature. This means roughly 1.5 million households in Virginia have received the regular literature.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

One state Republican Party mailer highlights Northam’s use of “fancy words” and calling Trump a “narcissistic maniac.” “That won’t help Virginia create jobs, protect our families, or reduce taxes,” it adds.

Another laments that “the anger and partisan bickering in Washington, DC isn’t doing anything to protect our families” and then tags Northam as “dangerous and extreme.” (Hotline reporting)

American Bridge launched a digital ad campaign mocking Prince William County Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart (R) in reported talks about an official endorsement. (release)

PAGING HOUSE OF DELEGATE CANDIDATES. “Speaking at the annual awards dinner by the conservation group VIRGINIAforever, Northam … gave a shout out to” state House Speaker-designate Kirk Cox (R), “who was being honored with the group’s 2017 Bridge Builder Award.”

Northam: “Thanks for your leadership, by the way. I look forward to you being the Speaker of the House.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

TURNOUT. “Northam’s campaign announced Tuesday night that a limited number of tickets to the [Barack Obama] rally will be made available to the general public at 10 a.m. Wednesday. They will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Richmond Coliseum Ticket Office at the 5th Street entrance, 601 E. Leigh St. Earlier Tuesday tickets were made available on a first-come, first-served basis to those who had pre-registered for the event at Northam’s campaign website. Those who pre-registered were told to line up at the Coliseum on Tuesday for a chance to claim a ticket to the rally, leading to a long line that snaked around the arena.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

TALKING ‘BOUT MY EDUCATION. Northam in an interview with the Washington Post editorial board “claimed to believe in accountability but was utterly unable to explain what he means by the word. … What would replace them? Astonishingly, after almost four years as lieutenant governor and a month away from the election, Mr. Northam had no answer. Particularly concerning was Mr. Northam’s view that because children are diverse, ‘coming from different backgrounds and different regions,’ he’s ‘not sure that it’s fair’ to give them all the same test.” (Washington Post)

Gillespie blasted the comments on a phone call with reporters, citing former President George W. Bush and the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” (Hotline reporting)

THANKS… Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions endorsed Gillespie. CRES Managing Director Heather Reams: “Ed Gillespie has a plan that will sustain and strengthen investments in science, engineering and clean, renewable forms of energy to ensure good paying jobs and affordable power for all Virginians.” (release)

Conservation advocate and Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton also endorsed Gillespie. (release)

Gillespie met with the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association after McAuliffe canceled his meeting with the group. (release)

… BUT NO THANKS. Radio host Laura Ingraham says she offered to campaign for Gillespie, but she says he never took her up on her offer. (Hotline reporting)

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