I’ve always said that straw polls don’t necessarily give you the same results as a scientific poll, but they can give you an idea of how a campaign is able to turnout their supporters in a certain area. There’s a similar concept with online straw polls. The winner essentially comes down to which campaign can utilize their email list the best and get people to participate in the online poll.
I bring this up because Virginia Way, a conservative PAC here in Virginia, has released the results of an online straw poll it conducted in the statewide GOP primaries. The poll was up for six days and eventually 386 people took part in the poll that ended at noon today.
Here are the results:
If the 2017 GOP primary for Governor was held today who would you support?
Gillespie, Ed: 32.9% (127 votes)
Riggleman, Denver: 30.1% (117 votes)
Stewart, Corey A: 29.3% (113 votes)
Wagner, Frank: 2.6% ( 10 votes)
Not Sure: 5.2% (20 votes)
If the 2017 GOP primary for Lt. Governor was held today who would you support?
Davis, Glenn: 9.6% (37 votes)
Reeves, Bryce: 51.9% (201 Votes)
Vogel, Jill: 18.6% (72 votes)
Not Sure: 19.9% (77 votes)
If the 2017 GOP primary for Attorney General was held today who would you support?
Adams, John: 61% (236 votes)
Smith, Chuck: 12.4% (48 votes)
Not Sure: 26.6% (103 votes)
There are a couple things worth noting here. First, it’s not surprising to see Ed Gillespie finish on top of the gubernatorial straw poll. With that being said, this was the only one of the three races that was actually close as just over three percent of the vote separated the first three candidates. That is surprising because most polling shows Gillespie with a sizable lead and he’s generally considered the frontrunner. I’ve even been hearing staffers for the Democratic gubernatorial candidates talk about how they’re ready to take him on in the fall.
Secondly, the straw poll for Lt. Governor actually turned out to be quite surprising. Not only did Bryce Reeves beat Jill Vogel, but he did so by a 33.3% margin. While he definitely doesn’t have that large of a lead, it’s very interesting because Vogel is considered to be the frontrunner and has come out on top of most polls that I’ve seen. The fact that he received more votes than any of the gubernatorial candidates suggests he did a fabulous job at getting his supporters to actually participate in the poll.
Finally, there are a lot of people who are undecided in the races for Lt. Governor and Attorney General. Compare that to just 5% being undecided in the Gubernatorial primary. Since folks who participate in these straw polls are usually politically active, this really means the candidates in these races have a lot of work to do in order to get out the word about why they’re running for office. If party insiders are undecided after all, there’s a strong chance the general public really doesn’t know the candidates at all.