After a five-month slide by embattled Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam, Monmouth University shows Republican Ed Gillespie up by one point. From the release:
The poll found the Republican nominee has gained ground on some key campaign issues, particularly in conservative and swing areas of the state. Among all Virginia voters, Gillespie is preferred over Northam on handling jobs and the economy by a 41% to 29% margin, which is slightly better than his 38% to 33% edge on this concern in September. In particular, Gillespie now has a 43% to 24% advantage on the jobs issue in Eastern Virginia, reversing a 31% to 37% deficit there last month.
Gillespie also maintains his advantage on handling crime – 40% of Virginia voters prefer the Republican and 24% choose the Democrat. Gillespie had a 35%-27% edge on this issue in September. He has enjoyed big gains on this concern in Western Virginia, where he now holds a 55% to 13% advantage over Northam. Last month, Gillespie had a smaller 41%-26% advantage on the crime issue in this region.
Politico has a story this afternoon outlining the tragic slide from the Democrats coupled with a singularly heroic effort by Gillespie’s Republican team:
Taken together, the Monmouth poll — along with new surveys from two Virginia schools, Christopher Newport University and Roanoke College — point to a close race in the most-closely watched election of 2017. Both parties are using the Virginia contest to test-drive messages and read tea leaves ahead of next year’s midterms, when 36 states will hold gubernatorial elections.
“This has never been more than a five-point race in Monmouth’s polling, and that means either candidate has a very real shot at winning this thing,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Ben Jacobs with the UK Guardian comments via Twitter:
New Monmouth poll of #vagov has Republican Ed Gillespie up over Democrat Ralph Northam by a margin of 48%-47%. They had Northam up 5 in Sept
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) October 17, 2017
The news seems to have shocked many Democratic observers while confirming the news that Republicans have been repeating for weeks; arguing for a narrow race while other news outlets — the Washington Post leading them — have argued for a deficit as large as 13pts for the Republican frontrunner.
…that’s right. Frontrunner.
UPDATE: Justin Higgins reports:
Especially important to note here is the trend. The last Monmouth survey had Northam with a 5-point lead, edging himself outside of the margin of error. Here we are, less than a month later, and Northam’s lead is entirely erased.
Gillespie continues to run a disciplined campaign, despite being outspent by Northam’s liberal special interest group allies. He’s on pace to shock the political world in a few short weeks.
The exuberance on the right is palpable at this stage. Most of Democratic Twitter seems to be awfully quiet… most likely because they are seeing for the first time some public polls that finally match their private numbers — and not their narrative.
UPDATE x2: One reader helpfully notes that this emerging lead from Gillespie has come after September’s SBE filing… which means that Northam has practically unloaded his warchest and still can’t arrest his slide in the polls.
Should be a practical invitation for either RGA or RNC to finish the job with three weeks left to go.