Poll: Va. governor race deadlocked

Greg Nash

The critical Virginia gubernatorial race has tightened in the final weeks of the race, with Republican Ed Gillespie leading Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) by 1 point, according to a new poll.

A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday shows Gillespie with 48 percent of support from likely voters compared to Northam’s 47 percent. Libertarian Cliff Hyra received 3 percent of the vote, while another 3 percent are undecided.

This is the first public poll that shows Gillespie leading, but it is within the survey’s margin of error of 4.9 percentage points. Monmouth University’s poll from last month had Northam leading by 5 points, 49 to 44 percent.

{mosads}”This has never been more than a five point race in Monmouth’s polling, and that means either candidate has a very real shot at winning this thing,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “We have seen lots of little movement that has either helped or hurt each candidate but with neither one being able to break out.”

The poll found that Northam is expanding his vote share in Northern Virginia, while Gillespie has been gaining ground in the western part of the state. With those regional divides, Murray said, “the battle for swing voters will occur right down the I-95 corridor.”

The Nov. 7 race has entered the final stretch, with political heavyweights coming out on the campaign trail to boost the respective candidates.

Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, campaigned along Vice President Pence over the weekend. While it’s still unclear if President Trump will make a visit to Virginia, he tweeted support for Gillespie while accusing Northam of “fighting for” the MS-13 gang.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden stumped with Northam over the weekend, and former President Barack Obama is returning to the campaign trail for the first time since leaving office to campaign with the lieutenant governor later this week.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 12 to 16 and surveyed 408 likely Virginia voters via live interviews through landlines and cellphones.

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