Democrats around Virginia are trumpeting a new Washington Post poll this morning showing Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam with a double digit lead in the race for Governor. The poll stands in stark contrast to other recent polls which show the race effectively tied.
Is it time for Virginia Republicans to start panicking? Not quite. The Post has shown themselves completely incapable of accurately polling the Commonwealth.
Here’s a flashback to the same polling outfit, in conjunction with the Post, giving Democrat loser Tom Perriello a two-point edge in the primary:
With less than one month before the June 13 primary, 40 percent of likely Democratic voters support Perriello, while 38 percent support Northam, a difference that is well within the survey’s range of sampling error. Perriello is a former congressman, and Northam is the state’s lieutenant governor.
Missing within the margin of error would be one thing, but Northam went on to win the Democratic nomination by twelve points. The Post missed by 14 points, and missed to the left.
In 2013, in the last poll commissioned by the Post, they had Terry McAuliffe up by 12 points. He would win that race by a narrow 2.5% margin. They missed by nearly ten points, and again, missed to the left.
There’s a reason why the Washington Post isn’t often in the polling business, and spends most of their digital ink commenting on other polling. They’re just not very good at it.