The Virginia gubernatorial primary voting opens Tuesday, but a new poll published Sunday reveals a potential shake-up in both the Republican and Democratic race.
Democratic candidates Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam had been statistically neck and neck so far in the race. Perriello joined the race nearly 7 months after the sitting Lieutenant Governor but quickly proved his fundraising chops after an endorsement from Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Perriello broke free from Northam in the latest poll, earning 54 percent compared to Northam’s 46 percent support. That’s a stark difference from an earlier Washington Post poll that put the former congressman at 40 percent, with Northam earning a close second at 38 percent of the vote.
The massive online-based poll revealed that perennial underdog and Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart led former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie with a narrow margin. Stewart earned 42 percent compared to Gillespie’s 41 percent in the poll.
The last poll in the race revealed that Gillespie earned 38 percent support, and Stewart only earned 18 percent.
Stewart could benefit from a low Republican turnout, according to the report. Democrats overall are expected to turn out in numbers 30 percent higher than Republicans. The former Trump staffer made strong anti-immigrant statements during the course of his campaign and went as far as to publicly hold the Confederate flag during a rally to illustrate his support of Virginia’s “heritage.”
Newly-created polling firm Change Research conducted the poll and included 3,232 registered voters. The dates the polls were taken, as well as the margin of error wasn’t published, but due to the online method in which the study was conducted, a standard margin of error isn’t applicable.
Change Research conducted two polls before the Virginia poll, one in the Montana special election and another in the Georgia special election vote on April 18. Both polls were accurate to the final results within one percentage point in either direction, according to the report.
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