Both Democratic contenders for the Virginia governorship lead Republican candidate Ed Gillespie in a head-to-head poll published Monday.
Former Rep. Tom Perriello and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, both Democrats, led Gillespie’s numbers by a wide margin in the Washington Post-Schar School poll, with Perriello’s 50 percent gaining a slight edge over Northam’s 49 percent. Gillespie trailed in both head-to-head matchups, hovering around 37 percent.
Dean of the Schar School Mark Rozell credits President Donald Trump’s record low approval ratings with Gillespie’s low polling numbers, asserting that Trump’s “negative taint” will carry into the 2017 and 2018 elections.
“Unfortunately for Republicans running this year, they will carry the negative taint of the Trump administration with them no matter how hard they try to separate themselves,” Rozell said in the accompanying statement.
Gillespie leads Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors Corey Stewart and State Sen. Frank Wagner in the Republican primary with 37 percent of the vote.
Members of the Gillespie campaign are hopeful that they will be able to change the outcome through clever campaigning, citing Gillespie’s close numbers in his 2014 senatorial bid in which he was outspent by a wide margin.
“In 2014, polls showed Ed losing by double digits weeks out from the election, while being outspent 3-1, and it ended up being 8/10ths a percentage point,” Gillespie Communications Director Dave Abrams told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “A poll six months out isn’t going to be any more accurate. People know media polls aren’t designed to measure election outcomes, they’re designed to affect them. Ed is going to continue putting forward policies that will make life better for all Virginians, and he knows a majority are going to embrace his positive agenda in November if he is our nominee.”
The poll included 1,395 registered voters in Virginia and ran from May 9 to May 14. The poll included a margin of error of 3 percentage points in either direction.
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