Two polls show McAuliffe, Northam ahead, AG race tied up

PollsWith the election just 28 days away, two polls were released this morning showing Democratic candidates Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam leading their Republican opponents, while the race for AG remains a toss up.

Christopher Newport University’s Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy was up first. Today’s release (pdf) is the first of two parts, with the second coming tomorrow. The poll shows McAuliffe up 47% to 38% over Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, with Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis at 8%. (All numbers are of likely voters.) Interesting to me was that Cuccinelli is leading in Hampton Roads by 6 points. This is also the region where Sarvis gets the most support: 13%.

Northam leads Republican LG candidate E. W. Jackson 48% to 37%, with 16% of the voters undecided. With both candidates from Hampton Roads, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the contest here is a statistical tie: Northam leads 45% to 43%. Gotta love that blank box showing up under partisan support: Jackson gets 0% Democratic support.

The AG’s race shows Democrat Mark Herring ahead of Republican Mark Obenshain 45% to 42%, which is within the poll’s +/-3.1% margin of error. Obenshain leads in Hampton Roads by 14 points.

Perhaps tomorrow’s release will include the percentage of voters from each region. I’d also like to know the MOE for the regional information.

Roanoke College released its results a little later. The questionnaire (pdf) shows McAuliffe up 40% to 34%, which RC calls a “slim lead,” with Sarvis garnering 8%. The crosstabs (pdf) show a whopping 45% to 25% lead for McAuliffe in the “Tidewater” region (after all these years, you’d think they would know our name). Tidewater respondents make up 24% of the poll.

The poll has a MOE of +/- 3%.

Northam leads Jackson 39% to 35%. Twenty-six percent are undecided. Obenshain leads Herring 38% to 35%, also with 26% undecided. One percent of the voters in each race offered no answer. Crosstabs for these two races was not provided.

(I was reminded on Twitter that RC’s polling was way off in 2012. )

Polls are, of course, just a snapshot. Real Clear Politics shows all of the polling in the gubernatorial race and calculates an average 6.2% lead for McAuliffe.

Updated for clarity on MOE 11:00am same day.


7 thoughts on “Two polls show McAuliffe, Northam ahead, AG race tied up

  1. CNU’s poll is very off, especially on LG. No other poll is outside of the MOE, nor does any other poll show such a huge difference in NOVA (over 20 points in Northam’s favor?) and every other poll gives Jackson a lead among indies. The huge difference in these numbers compared to every other recent poll makes me wonder exactly how they went about getting these numbers.

    Roanoke was all over the place in 2012, but was the most accurate in 2009. Depends on how you think the R/D/I split will be.

    1. I don’t think the poll is “very off.” The Politico poll yesterday was outside of the MOE.

      As for the regional numbers – the MOE goes up significantly for subgroups, mainly because of the sample size. That’s why I mentioned that I hoped they would release the MOE for those. And just the definitions of the regions would help account for part of the differences between them.

        1. There hasn’t been much polling on the LG race. And even fewer that show the crosstabs (RC doesn’t). So you’re already dealing with a small sample size there. Saying this is an outlier, based on LG alone, is a bit disingenuous.

          1. A poll done over a 6 day period when a major political story breaks is going to be pretty off no matter what the rest of the methodology is. It started on day 1 of the shutdown and went to October 6th so it would be interesting if they would release the times and responses from the calls day by day to see if there is any change.

            Also not releasing definitions of the regions is a huge oversight. Most people consider Hampton Roads to be the 7 cities but based on the numbers, I would say they have to be using the MSA definition which stretches halfway to Richmond and might or might not include Surry County depending on how careful they were.

  2. These polls are dead on. I believe McAuliffe is ahead by about 5-10 points. Mark Obenshain is the the only reasonable candidate that Republicans have put forward and thats why he is running slightly ahead.

  3. A poll done over a 6 day period when a major political story breaks is going to be pretty off no matter what the rest of the methodology is.

    This is a legitimate concern. But that would mean the two polls referenced here, as well as the Politico poll that was released Monday would have the same problems.

    Also not releasing definitions of the regions is a huge oversight.

    I agree that both CNU & RC should have done that. Makes comparisons between the two difficult.

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