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Poll Analysis – Virginia Governor’s Race

polls photoMonmouth Poll Showing Gillespie Ahead, but They Sampled More Republicans than Previous Poll

Monmouth University released a new poll yesterday that purports to show that Republican Ed Gillespie has gained ground on Democrat Ralph Northam and is now a point ahead.

But is this poll really showing momentum for Gillespie?

I hate to disappoint my GOP colleagues, but this poll actually shows Gillespie is slipping since the Monmouth poll taken last month between 9/21/2017 and 9/25/2017.

In the September poll, Monmouth sampled 25% Republicans and 32% Democrats. The September poll has a +7 Democrat advantage. However, in the latest poll, the sample size changed. Considerably. The latest poll was conducted using 30% Republicans and 28% Democrats giving a +2 Republican advantage.

So the poll swung from +7 Democrat to +2 Republican, a 9 point swing in Republican’s favor.

The September poll showed Northam with a 5% advantage over Gillespie 49% to 44% with a +7 Democrat advantage.

The latest poll shows Gillespie with a 1 point lead over Northam with a +2 Republican advantage in the sample.

If nothing had changed, with a 9 point swing in the sample favoring Gillespie, one would expect the poll to show a 4 point lead for Gillespie. Yet the new poll shows only a 1 point lead for the Republican.

So the logical conclusion is that Gillespie has actually slipped 3 points from September has Monmouth used an “apples to apples” polling sample.

But the question is, why would a liberal New Jersey college want to show a Republican in the lead?

We can only speculate, but moments after the latest poll was released, the Democrats sent out a mass email to their mailing lists from Terry McAuliffe seeking … money!

This is bad, Tom.

After Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and the rest of the Republican machine threw their weight into the Virginia governor’s race last week, the latest poll shows right-wing extremist Ed Gillespie AHEAD in the race.

This race was already neck-and-neck. Now the stakes are even higher.

After this breaking news, we must up our spending IMMEDIATELY to take back this race and keep Virginia from going to an extreme Trump supporter. That’s why we’re asking you to chip in $10 today to fight back. Can Virginia Democrats like Ralph Northam count on you?

If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will process immediately by clicking a button below. Otherwise, you will be redirected to a donation page.

And there are buttons for various amounts. (There was a link to the donation page in the text above, but I removed it.)

Obviously, the Democrat strategy in this race has been to tie Gillespie to Trump because even though Democrats lost the election last year, Hillary did win Virginia. But to call Gillespie a “right-wing extremist” aligned with Trump is laughable. So stirring up the Democrat base with the fear of a Trump “clone” as governor now being ahead of the Democrat will no doubt bring in a lot of donations. Far more than had the poll shown Gillespie slipping from 5 points behind to 8 or 9 points down, which is what the poll actually shows.

Another advantage this “fear” poll has for Democrats is ensuring that a victory for Northam is not inevitable. Democrats believe that a lot of their own failed to show up to vote because the fake polls showed Hillary was going to win by a landslide.

So the message the Democrats want to get out to the party faithful is all hands on deck. With your money and your vote. And this poll fits that narrative perfectly.

I’m not saying there is a conspiracy between Monmouth and the Democrats to manipulate polls to fit the Democrat’s playbook. But the only way to truly measure movement in a political race is by apples to apples polls. Not 9 point partisan swings. That is no way to conduct a poll.

Christopher Newport Poll

Comparing the last two CNU polls, Northam has dropped from 7 points ahead to just 4 points. Looking at the demographics in this poll, the mix of Republicans to Democrats only changed by a single point, which is good.

However, they also ask those who self-identify as neither Republican nor Democrat (Independents) if they lean one way or the other. The 10/2 to 10/6 CNU poll showed the Indy’s – which were almost 1/3 of the respondents –  their “lean”. In the earlier poll, they leaned 38% to Republicans and 34% to Democrats. But the CNU poll conducted October 9 to 13 queried Independents who leaned 44% Republican and 35% Democrat.

This poll shows Independent voters may be moving towards Gillespie.

Roanoke College Poll

Roanoke College conducted a poll September 16-23 and the latest was conducted October 8-13. In September, Northam lead Gillespie by 4 points and in the October poll, Northam increased his lead to 6 points.

The partisan split in this poll remained nearly the same between the two polls. And despite the fact that Northam increased his lead by 2 points, there was a slight movement towards Gillespie among Independents.


In 2013 Terry McAuliffe was favored in every poll taken from July 2013 until election. McAuliffe won by 2.5% yet the polls showed him with a 6% average margin.

In 2017 Ralph Northam has been favored in every poll taken since April 2017 (with 2 ties). Northam has an average lead of 3.5% as of today.

In 2013, both Emerson’s and Quinnipiac’s final polls were the most accurate and showed McAuliffe winning by 2 points. (He won by 2.5.)

In 2017, Emerson’s latest poll shows Northam up by 5 and Quinnipiac’s latest has Northam up by 10.

The three polls I looked at above are the latest 3 out as of today. I am completely underwhelmed with the latest Monmouth poll and other than an apparent drop for Gillespie after correcting the horrendous partisan swing (+9 GOP between the polls), have no confidence in the Monmouth methods. And the poll did not ask the Independents if they are leaning Republican or Democrat. And other than a fund raiser for Democrats and a poll that may give Republicans a bit of overconfidence, I reject this poll.

But Roanoke and CNU both show movement by Independents towards Gillespie since their previous polls. This is when you want to see unaffiliated voters move toward your candidate and is good news for Gillespie and the GOP. The TV and radio ads put out by the GOP and Gillespie are most likely responsible for this movement and are having a negative effect among Independent voters as far as the Democrats go.

The “lead” by McAuliffe in 2013, according to the polls, was larger than the average lead for Northam in 2017. With Independents moving towards Gillespie, this race is trending in the GOP’s favor. But it is going to be very close.

I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see this race end up in a recount. And if that happens, the GOP will need to keep a close eye on Fairfax and other NoVa localities. If you recall, in 2013 Obenshain was ahead of Herring by 1,272 votes after counting the ballots. After fixing “problems” with counting equipment in Fairfax, Herring won.

Imagine that!



About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

7 Responses to “Poll Analysis – Virginia Governor’s Race”

  1. Lawrence Wood says:

    Of all the so called political blogs in Virginia this is the only one that I am aware of that can (does?) actually read the underlying data metrics that put polls together and review the nature of the sampling population to make an attempt at meaningful interpretation for it’s readers. The latest Monmouth poll does look suspicious to me given how they have rather radically shifted around the data polling populations making any comparisons to it’s earlier poll difficult.

    You may be correct regarding the possibility of this race being close regarding any swing of state independents toward Gillespie, with one caveat in my opinion, that this Virginia independent vote has always been notoriously difficult to define and project from a turnout viewpoint. This is certainly no wave election but a base party one in my opinion so will the independents turn out in any real numbers to pull Gillespie across the line?

    I’m admittedly less convinced of this scenario then you appear to be but am perfectly willing to admit that I have no real data rationale for that opinion other than so called state independents and past statewide elections. As for Fairfax you certainly nailed that one it will be again late in final returns and in a close race the swinging door, just who will be swinging that door is always a question of concern from my perspective.

  2. Tom White says:

    Thanks Lawrence. Virginia is pretty hard to poll. Getting the mix just right between NoVa and not-Nova areas is a guessing game. I am a born skeptic and don’t just take polls and the accompanying narrative without a look under the hood.

    I didn’t mention it, but the sample sizes are half of what they were in 2013 which leads to larger margins of error.

    One thing is for sure. Virginia has two of the most dull candidates ever. And 3 out of the last 4 governors have been Democrats. So Republicans are definitely the underdogs.
    Tom White recently posted…McConnell symbolizes what has destroyed the Republican PartyMy Profile

  3. Big Daddy says:

    People who read this blog probably don’t watch much TV -too busy blogging and facebooking and tweeting all their intellect- so let me tell you what we couch potatoes are seeing on Tv and hearing on the radio.

    Ed Gillespie’s attacks on Ralph Northam are actually pretty darn effective going into the home stretch.

    Ralph Northam advocates for GUN CONTROL and Justin Fairfax wants to ban AKs in the NRA’s backyard where VCDL is a powerhouse politically. After a few years of BLM riots, if the Democrats think they are taking away our guns in Virginia, they are crazy. Ralph Northam advocates taking down Statues aka War Memorials to Virginia’s dead soldiers, and supports Sanctuary cities so MS-13 ILLEGAL gang members can kill law abiding citizens and their children.

    From my Lazy Boy- Ed Gillespie is going to win in Virginia in November.

    Northam is running an insane campaign and his consultant must be one of Podesta’s Communists from Hillary’s losing campaign.

    Northam screwed up big time when he called President Donald J. Trump a “narcisistic maniac.”

    The Democratic voters Northam needed to win are going to stay home. They want to keep their guns for protection and want Illegals deported just like Republicans do.

    Pandering to illegal aliens who can’t vote for YOU is a stupid strategy on Northam’s part.

  4. Big Daddy says:

    Democratic LG Candidate Justin Fairfax would confiscate weapons from Law Abiding Citizens..calls for Gun Control:

  5. Bob Shannon

    Growing distrust, and who can blame them , among republican voters who have grown weary of being lied to repeatedly could dampen turnout. I have yet to see a wave of excitement over Big Ed.

    What margin among conservatives who simply won’t vote for this clear establishment guy will tilt the race to Northam ? My guy isn’t as bad as the other guy doesn’t carry the weight that it once did, winning for the sake of winning isn’t a message that carries the clout it once did.

    Turnout, particularly among conservatives, possible record numbers for write in and or Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra will make the difference. We can all remember the conservative excitement in 2009 for McDonnell…..people have not forgot what a colossal failure that was. The level of contempt for career pols and insiders has not been this high , if ever.

    Bob Shannon

  6. Friends of Jack says:


    Ed’s gonna lose in a landslide. After dissing Jack Morgan in SW Virginia, Repubilcans don’t care if Ed loses. Even Laura Ingraham is piling on against Ed Gillespie.

    • Nonna from the 9th says:

      When Northam called DJT a “narcissistic maniac” he wasted his insult. He should have saved it for ED GILLESPIE. To treat a grassroots campaigner like Jack Morgan like this without any regard for the millions of donated dollars for the GOP effort and the year of sacrifice by John Adams and Jill Vogel and their staffers for the “Ticket” demonstrates what self serving sociopaths Ed and John Whitbeck really are

      I wouldn’t vote for Ed Gillespie if they were paying $100 a vote on election day. Bet the 9th District doesn’t show up for Ed either. Not after the way they treated Jack.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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