Roanoke College Poll shows Virginia races all tied up

A poll released today suggests the race for Virginia Governor is tightening up in the final week. The Roanoke College Poll of likely voters shows the race for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General are all tied.

With just days remaining in the campaign, Democrat Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie are tied (47%-47%), while Libertarian Cliff Hyra garners three percent of likely voters, and only three percent remain undecided…

Democrat Justin Fairfax and Republican Jill Vogel are tied (45%-45%) in the race for lieutenant governor, and incumbent Democrat Mark Herring and Republican John Adams are also tied (46%-46%) in the attorney general contest…

“Gillespie has improved his position among self-identified Independents,” said Harry Wilson, director of the Roanoke College Poll. “More of those respondents say they lean toward the Republicans than we saw in our most recent poll and they moved the results favorably toward Gillespie and Republicans, but not President Trump. As we noted in the last poll, Republicans closed well in the 2013 and 2014 elections. This one may be following the same script.”

This poll was conducted from Sunday to Thursday of this week, meaning respondents may have heard about a couple of issues that plagued the Northam campaign this week. The first was an extremely stupid advertisement run by the Latino Victory Fund showing a black pick-up truck with a Gillespie sticker on the back menacing a group of minority children. Latino Victory pulled the ad Tuesday in the wake of the Manhattan terror attack. Gillespie’s campaign claimed fundraising online surged as a result of a backlash against that advertisement.

Also this week, Northam told a local news channel that he would sign a bill against sanctuary cities if one were to come to his desk as Governor. That statement effectively undercut the talking points of Northam’s progressive defenders. As I wrote yesterday:

Since Gillespie began putting out ads connecting Northam’s vote [on a similar bill] to MS-13, his defenders have claimed the entire issue is wrong-headed since, currently, there are no sanctuary cities in the state. Democrats have also claimed the entire issue is a racist dog-whistle, comparing it to the Willie Horton ad. But in one fell swoop, Northam has undercut both of those arguments.

As Ed pointed out earlier today, Northam’s announcement on Sanctuary Cities has now resulted in a backlash from progressive supporters, with one group calling his statement, “gutless, politically senseless, and morally debased.” Ouch!

The Real Clear Politics average of polls currently has Northam up 2.8 points, including this Roanoke College Poll. We’ll find out which polling firms were closest on this race when the election is held next week.