Latest Poll Has Democrat Ralph Northam Edging Out Republican Ed Gillespie in Governor's Race

Aug 8, 2017


Virginia Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, celebrates his victory in the Democratic primary during an election party.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP

Political season here in Virginia never seems to die, the commonwealth is now gearing up for a fall of campaigning for Governor and the state legislature. The latest poll numbers favor Democrats.

Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, is running to become Virginia’s next Governor, and polling released this week has him at a five percentage point lead over Republican Ed Gillespie. 

But Robyn McDougle, with Virginia Commonwealth University's Wilder Center, doesn’t call it definitive. She points to the margin of error, 4.2-percent, plus a large group of undecided voters, 13-percent. 

“Which is a pretty significant chunk of our population," McDougle says. "We would say it’s a slight lead for Ralph Northam, but it’s a tight race.”  

A tight race that will continue to garner national attention. 

“It’ll definitely be an interesting race and it will continue to make Virginia a governor’s race that will be watched by around the country, without a doubt," adds McDougle. 

The large chunk of undecided voters may mean fewer Virginians will be checking the box based purely on party, instead evaluating each candidate individually. 

“They’re waiting to make their decision based on what they see from the candidates policy portfolio, coming out with within the next three months," says McDougle. 

Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra is polling at 6-percent.

Also up for election are all 100 members of Virginia’s House of Delegates. More of those polled would prefer Democrats in charge of Virginia’s legislature, rather than Republicans. The Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General are also leading their Republican opponents. 

You can see full results here

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association