Are Ed Gillespie and Ralph Northam Actually Tied?

Since the June primaries, three polls have been released on the Virginia governor’s race.

Quinnipiac on June 22nd had Northam up by 8 – 47-39.

Harper on June 15th had Gillespie and Northam even at 46.

Just this week another polling outfit, Monmouth, had Gillespie and Northam tied at 44.

An average of those three polling numbers would be 45.6 – 43 to Northam.

But is that accurate? Not necessarily. It’s just an average.

The difference, as we have discussed in the past, is the breakdown of the electorate that is polled.

Monmouth and Harper – the ones with the race tied used Likely Voters (LVs) or Voters (Harper) and Quinnipiac used Registered Voters (RVs).

Quinnipiac has the D-R-I breakdown at 32-24-37
Harper has the D-R-I breakdown at 33-30-37
Monmouth’s D-R-I breakdown was 30-27-43

That average is 31.6 – 27 – 39 vs the polling average of 45.6 to 43 for Northam.
+4.6 D to R and +2.6 for Northam.

As previously noted, the polls are accurate based on what is polled. What is polled is very important. If Quinnipiac’s modeling is accurate and Democratic turnout mirrors their model, Northam is much further ahead than if the Harper and Monmouth models are accurate.

Q – Dem +8 = Northam +8
H – Dem +3 = Tie
M – Dem +3 = Tie

So what does this all mean? It means the Democrats need to turn out their base (which they are doing) and the GOP has to as well. No Big AHA there, right? Never is.

But there sure are a lot of Independents.
Q – Gillespie wins them 40-38
M – Gillespie wins them 42-38
Average 41-38 or +3.

To recap
Three poll average +2.6 Northam and +3 in two polls for Gillespie among Independents.

How about when you average the last three statewide elections 2013 Governor, 2014 US Senate, and 2016 POTUS? Democrats +2.89.

Gillespie is slightly ahead of where Ken Cuccinelli was four years ago who was down 3.7% at this time to Terry McAuliffe.

So is it a tie or not? All I can say is that it is close and that a LOT of money is going to be spent in the next 100 days.

Remember in 2013 there were two Washington DC created October surprises in the form of a government shutdown (thanks, Ted Cruz) and the website crash (thanks Obama).

Since Washington DC is such a smooth running operation devoid of drama, why worry?

Chris Saxman

About Chris Saxman

Father of four, small business leader, retired politician, and Executive Committee member and former Chairman of an international trade association, Chris Saxman delivers strategy and insight as a political coach and keynote speaker. Contact Chris.

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