Quinnipiac Finds Perriello Ahead in Primary, Both Democrats Leading Presumed Republican Nominee

Virginia Democrats are locked in a tight primary in this year's governor's race, but either contender tops the lead Republican, former GOP National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie, by double digits, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

In the Democratic primary for governor, former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello has 25 percent to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam's 20 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. Another 51 percent are undecided.

Gillespie leads the Republican primary with 28 percent, followed by Prince William County Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart at 12 percent, State Sen. Frank Wagner with 7 percent and 51 percent undecided.

In possible general election matchups:
Perriello tops Gillespie 46 - 33 percent;
Northam leads Gillespie 44 - 33 percent. Margins are similar in other possible matchups.
None of the candidates is well known, as the number of Virginia voters who don't know enough about the candidates to form an opinion of them ranges from 49 percent for Gillespie to 77 percent for Wagner.

Source: Quinnipiac University

The Democratic Primary may have tipped over slightly to Perriello if Quinnipiac is to be believed, and both candidates currently sporting an edge over Gillespie in the general election. The only statewide races to break in the Republicans’ favor since 2004 were the triplet of statewide contests in 2009. Besides that one bright bump, Republicans have faced frustrating Senatorial losses in 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014, lost all statewide contests in 2013, and the electoral votes here in every contest since President Bush’s re-election. While Ed Gillespie has a clear lead in his primary, over half of Republican voters haven’t decided how they’ll be voting. The Democratic primary looks far tighter, which, in conjunction with renewed Democratic voter energy, will probably lead to a higher turnout contest in their June contest than that of their Republican counterparts. So long as Periello-Northam avoids a bruising stage over the next two months, the winner will have an active, motivated base heading into November.