Ed Gillespie on course for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Virginia

Ed Gillespie seems to be running away with the Republican nomination for Virginia governor, according to a new poll by the Washington Post-Schar School of Policy and Government.* The GOP primary is on June 13th.

Thirty-eight percent of likely Republican voters are for Gillespie, 18 percent for Prince William County supervisor Corey Stewart and 15 percent for state Sen. Frank Wagner.

About a quarter are undecided.

According to the poll Gillespie’s strength is based in great part on perceptions of his electability. He also has a significant cash advantage over his Republican rivals.

As the Washington Post notes, Gillespie is seen as the best Trump supporter of the three contenders, but that may not ultimately be good news if he makes it to the general election. Trump’s “approval rating among all Virginia residents is 36 percent, which is even lower than his national approval rating of 42 percent in a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month.”

What’s more, while some 20 percent of Virginians strongly approve of President Trump’s job performance, 52 percent strongly disapprove.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former congressman Tom Perriello are contending for the Democratic nomination.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is term-limited.

The general election is on November 7, 2017, which will make it a very important indicator of how Trump is doing early in the mandate as Virginia is a swing state and the only southern state he lost.

*The Washington Post-Schar School poll was conducted by telephone May 9-14 among a random sample of 1,602 adults in Virginia, including landline and cellphone respondents, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three points. The error margin is 4.5 points among Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, and seven points among the sample of 264 Republican likely primary voters.
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