by Shaun Kenney
Another day, another poll.
Christopher Newport University (CNU) Wason Center came out with their Virginia primary poll with numbers showing most Virginians simply aren’t paying attention — yet — to the Virginia gubernatorial contests.
In yet another hit to State Senator Amanda Chase (I-Chesterfield), her vote lead continues to be brought into sharper focus, with 55% of Republicans still undecided and her unfavorables still sandbagging her candidacy:
Vying for the top of the Republican ticket, Chesterfield Sen. Amanda Chase leads a crowded field with 17%, followed by former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox (10%) and entrepreneur Pete Snyder (6%). A majority of Republicans (55%) are also undecided in this very unsettled race. “The underlying friction between Chase’s fervent Trumpism and Cox’s Reagan Republican credentials could crack the party and open the door for Snyder or another contender,” said Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo.
If one were to start drawing a chart, you can see a pattern evolving here. Chase continues to demonstrate a 3 to 2 lead over her nearest rivals, yet former House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Chesterfield) and Disruptor Capital CEO Pete Snyder are both still introducing themselves to a convention electorate — not a primary.
Glenn Youngkin remains in either fourth place with primary voters or third place behind Cox and Snyder — but yet again we have another candidate still introducing themselves to the wider electorate. Meanwhile, Chase’s increasingly high unfavorable ratings continue to drive the wedge between her and the GOP nomination.
Here’s one number that most folks missed in the CNU poll that was not missed by Chris Saxman with Virginia FREE — and one that has to have Virginia Democrats more than just a little concerned.
Point blank? 47% of Virginians identified themselves as center-right, with just 42% of Virginians identifying themselves as center-left.
Virginia is ideologically more Center Right (47%) than Center Left (42%), but the state GOP is still a distant third when it comes to political self identification.
The Virginia GOP is more conservative than the Democratic Party is liberal, but the plurality of Virginia voters (40%) self describe as Moderates. This is why Moderate Democrats dominate in statewide races – they go where the votes are.
Maybe the Virginia GOP will go where the votes are?
If the results of the TRS poll are any indication, those moderate center-right voters are asking for more attention to the economy, job growth, and education linked to a strong voice hostile to any infringement upon our 1A or 2A rights.
In short, suburban and rural Virginians are looking for a moral conservatism that respects voters as functioning adults rather than tax serfs.
More alarming for the Democrats is that former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-New Jersey and don’t ever let him forget it) is not as strong a frontrunner as the YouGov poll would have folks believe, with Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax polling strong at 12% against McAuliffe at just 26% — dismal numbers for a former governor.
Also a bit telling in the poll? 44% of respondents were over the age of 55.
In an even more surprising number? 26% of all respondents said “none” when asked religious affiliation, reflecting a serious demographic trend regarding religious belief in America that would have been unfathomable even 10 years ago.
Either way, as the nomination method for the Republican gubernatorial nod continues to clarify — thus far, RPV Chairman Rich Anderson has declined the opportunity to revisit the question as a canvas — the ranked choice voting method continues to be the focus of any future polling, as unfavorables and last choices are just as important as first choices.
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Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.
Photo “Kirk Cox” by Kirk Cox. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Amadeust. CC BY-SA 3.0.