CNU Wason Center is out with a poll that shows former RNC chairman and presumptive nominee Ed Gillespie out in front with a wide margin in the Republican primary contest, up 33% against a photo finish but very distant second place between State Senator Frank Wagner at 9% and PWC chairman Corey Stewart at 8%. Nelson County distiller Denver Riggleman is at 1%.
On the Democratic side, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam holds a 26% lead against former 5th District Congressman Tom Perriello at 19%.
Of course, the big winner in the polls? “No Opinion” as the Wason Center points out, meaning that name ID isn’t where it ought to be quite yet.
This also translates into a few items. Firstly, those with the most cash win in a race to name ID. Multi-candidate elections can prove to be nasty and bitter, but until a candidate’s name ID is even with the other, negative campaigning can prove to be bitter and costly affairs (see: today’s 2017 Repulblican LG contest).
Secondly, for the Republicans it would appear as if Gillespie has a near insurmountable lead. For all the schematics of trying to turn 2017 into a re-visitation of Trump’s 2016 campaign or an insurgent Brat-Cantor race in 2014, the numbers aren’t there. Bear in mind this is the same Virginia that barely gave Trump the nod with a full 1/3 of the Republican base — it would appear this contest is looking more like George Allen’s return to the spotlight, where he emerged with 2/3 of the vote against challenger Jamie Radtke at 25 (Marshall and Jackson coming in at single digits).
Finally, what is more interesting to me? Perriello’s doldrums at 19%. One fully expected Perriello to pull even with Northam given the hype. Yet the enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be carrying converts as of yet. Plenty of time left on the clock, to be sure… and it isn’t as if Perriello has unloaded a warchest yet.
The Democratic nomination contest certainly looks like it is going to be every bit the barnburner the Republican contest promised it would be. Instead, Gillespie’s coronation seems to be on in a big way, while the Democrats are going to be engaged in a protracted and bloody nomination contest for governor.