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Who Is Ahead In The LG Race?

By Greg L | 1 December 2012 | RPV, Virginia Politics | 2 Comments

I wanted to get a read on which of the candidates for Lieutenant Governor actually have a serious shot at securing the Republican nomination, so I put up a poll last week.  Not that there’s much reason to think that a poll on this one blog, one with a local rather than state-level readership would be all that informative, but if you combine that poll with other online polls you might just get a sense of what’s going on and even have a chance to understand the regional variations that are sure to be a factor.  It’s worth a shot since it’ll be guaranteed to be the best there is, especially since there’s nothing else out there at this point.

I’m combining my poll with one over at JHPolitics, which seems to have a much more Hampton Roads-based participation, and weighting the two evenly.  Between the these we have at least some indication of what the two major population centers in Virginia might be feeling at this point.  To the extent these non-scientific polls, subject to all kinds of statistical error are revealing, I have no idea.  They are bound to be just as valid as those that may come out at some point from professional pollsters on the Republican side however, since their uncanny ability to come up with an utterly wrong answer during the last two election cycles can’t possibly make them more trustworthy than my humble efforts.

Top of the Pack:

E. W. Jackson: 23% (27% in Hampton Roads, 19% in NoVA)
Steve Martin: 21% (36% in Hampton Roads, 6% in NoVA)
Scott Lingamfelter: 20% (9% in Hampton Roads, 30% in NoVA)

Of note here, Jackson has significantly improved above what I expected to see after his exposure to activists who saw him speak during his Senate run last cycle. While he came in last during the primary in that race (largely due to having a very ineffective campaign) he did manage to connect with a lot of the grassroots that are likely to attend a convention as well as participate in online polls on political blogs. He’s strong among his Hampton Roads political base, and he’s quite strong also in NoVA. Not many candidates have such wide name recognition and appeal among the grassroots across different regions in Virginia.

Martin’s strength is almost entirely coming out of his district while his name ID outside of Hampton Roads is not great. Activists also tend to be rather distrustful of the conservative credentials of Republican members of the Senate (unless they’re a Cuccinelli or Obenshain) with pretty good reason. If this poll covered more areas of the state, I expect Martin would be out of the top tier.

Lingamfelter is quite strong in NoVA even among a crowded field of candidates from that region, and managed to beat his two regional rivals on their own turf here. He’s making a case outside of his political base better than anyone but Jackson at this point. I would not at all be surprised to see this improve, and if some of his rivals that share the NoVA region drop out he has a lot to gain.

Middle Tier:

Corey Stewart: 15% (6% in Hampton Roads, 24% in NoVA)
Susan Stimpson: 9% (9% in Hampton Roads, 9% in NoVA)
Pete Snyder: 8% (10% in Hampton Roads, 7% in NoVA)

Stewart lost his home turf to Scott Lingamfelter, which is utterly horrible for him. If Stewart can’t take Prince William County and neighboring localities by a huge margin, he stands little chance of even making it to the convention since he’s not likely to run up a lot of support anywhere else. Lingamfelter should be in a position to take a huge chunk of Stewart’s supporters when he either bows out or is dropped from the ballot.

Stimpson hasn’t really gotten traction anywhere, but this poll doesn’t cover her home political base much so her support may be a bit higher than it appears here. Greeted with a less than enthusiastic “meh” by poll respondents though, she needs to find a path to the top quickly before this becomes a fruitless exercise. Her supporters might go anywhere, but Lingamfelter is closest regionally and might benefit the most when she bows out.

Snyder is running about the same as Stimpson, but Snyder’s political base is in Fairfax County. Apparently folks in NoVA don’t seem to know him that much, though. Snyder’s support here is overstated, I enjoyed watching a concerted effort by supporters to flood polls with his name that lasted about an hour before it petered out, after which no one seemed to be choosing him. His participation in this race isn’t just pointless, it is deeply disturbing.

Low Speed, High Drag:

JeanneMarie Devolites-Davis: 3% (2% in Hampton Roads, 4% in NoVA)

Right where I expected her to be, JMDD is way in the back of the pack. So many activists I have encountered utterly despise her that anyone thinking she has a chance is absolutely delusional. If Tom Davis, who quite a few people liked, concluded he couldn’t win at a convention, what in the hell does JMDD think is going to happen when she shows up at one?  Her supporters will probably participate in the Democratic Party primary rather than attend the convention, so everyone wins when she calls it quits.

Folks, don’t be surprised if the next time we have a chance to gauge support among this gaggle the numbers have shifted a lot.  This is going to be a rather dynamic race, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see candidates start dropping out pretty soon after the holidays.  There just isn’t enough donor base out there to keep seven LG campaigns running at top speed all at the same time.  Some of these folks are just going to run out of resources.

Also worthy of note is the consistent lead Mark Obenshain seems to command over Rob Bell in the AG race in these polls, which I expect has a lot to do with name recognition.  There seems to be no regional variation in this one, but given that neither are from Hampton Roads or NoVA that isn’t entirely unexpected.

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  1. VA Political Watcher said on 3 Dec 2012 at 11:00 am:
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    Martin is not from Hampton Roads, he represents Chesterfield, Amelia, and Colonial Heights which is all in central va. I would say if it included more parts of the state, with how strong he is in Hampton Roads, he would be the outright leader.

  2. captain said on 3 Dec 2012 at 4:15 pm:
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    isnt your reasoning on polls the same reason republicans lost the presidency?

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