Virginia Q-Poll Has Some Hidden Good News for Republicans

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Democrats in Virginia have been crowing about Quinnipiac’s newest poll, which shows Ralph Northam with a 6-point lead over Republican Ed Gillespie. There are a few bits of hidden good news for GOP activists in the poll, however:

Independent voters back the Republican 39 – 30 percent, with 8 percent for Hyra. Democrats back Northam 89 – 5 percent, with 1 percent for Hyra, as Republicans back Gillespie 89 – 1 percent, with 3 percent for Hyra. 

Funny thing about the Hyra numbers, is that they don’t quite add up. Northam led the last Q-Poll by 8 points and his lead dropped to 6 when Hyra was included. More Hyra voters might self-identify as Republicans, but his inclusion actually bled Northam’s lead.

Another point of curiosity? Gillespie and Northam both have positive name identification, but fewer voters have an opinion of the incumbent Lieutenant Governor:

Virginia voters give Northam a 35 – 18 percent favorability rating, with 45 percent who haven’t heard enough about him to form an opinion of him. 

Gillespie gets a 38 – 27 percent favorability rating, with 34 percent who haven’t heard enough to form an opinion. 

Northam has been Lieutenant Governor for 4 years, and yet voters feel more comfortable giving an opinion on Gillespie.

Final bit of good news for Gillespie? He’s leading on two issues, the economy and taxes, that are typically big vote drivers in off-year elections:

41 – 38 percent that Gillespie would do a better job on the economy;
41 – 37 percent that Gillespie would do a better job on taxes.

Democrats can keep crowing about the top line numbers, but they’re missing the forest from the trees. Gillespie is narrowing the race, even in a poll done with a relatively Dem-friendly sample. He also is building his lead with independents and staking a lead on key issues. Gillespie has 2 1/2 months to win this thing, and it’s doable.