Polls: Warner way ahead of Gillespie in Virginia
January 23rd, 2014
12:23 PM ET
3 months ago

Polls: Warner way ahead of Gillespie in Virginia

(CNN) - Incumbent Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, leads Republican challenger Ed Gillespie by a 20 percentage point margin, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The first-term senator and former governor, who's up for re-election in November, carries 50% of Virginia voters, compared to Gillespie's 30% in the hypothetical matchup survey conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced his bid for the Senate last week. Though he has had several major leadership posts for Republicans, he has low name recognition in Virginia, according to the poll. When asked to give their opinion of Gillespie, 69% had no opinion, while 10% said they hold a favorable view of the Republican, compared to 9% who view him in an unfavorable light.

"The odds heavily favor Senator Warner, but he clearly has work to do to make the case to voters between now and November," said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy, in a release.

A Roanoke College poll of Virginians released earlier this week indicated Warner ahead of Gillespie by almost 30 percentage points (50%-21%).

The survey also indicated Gillespie has work to do to boost his name ID; 75% of respondents did not know enough about him to have an opinion.

Gillespie will face off against two lesser known Republicans at the GOP state convention in June, where the Republican Senate nominee will be decided.

Gillespie, who serves as chairman of the largest group of GOP state leaders, the Republican State Leadership Committee, has served in major leadership posts for Republicans for many years, including in the George W. Bush White House and advising the candidacies of Mitt Romney in his 2012 presidential run and Bob McDonnell in his 2009 election as Virginia governor. He also worked as a lobbyist in Washington.

Those jobs have given Gillespie major access to Republican donors, which he will need to take on Warner.

The Wason Center for Public Policy interviewed 1,023 registered voters by phone from January 15-22. The sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College interviewed 633 residents by phone between January 13 and January 17. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Ed Gillespie • Mark Warner • Virginia
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. rs

    It is way early just yet to call an election finished, but it appears the political suicide the GOP committed in Virginia is pretty complete.

    January 23, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Gillespie should just drop out now. Republicans are a thing of the past here in Virginia. Gov. McCorrupt is helping good ole Ed's chances neither. When Virginians think of republicans, we think GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN!!!!

    11/14 – WE WON'T FORGET

    January 23, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. A True Conservative

    Wow – he announced his candidacy last week – and is 20% behind the sitting Senator. What a shock!

    January 23, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Blue seat stays blue. Footage at 11.

    Let's talk Landrieu, D-LA, Pryor D-AR, Begich D-AK, Hagen D-NC, Shaheen D-NH, and the retiring Baucus, D-MT.

    January 23, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Moderate Nothing

    It's January, seriously? Talk to me in October

    January 23, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    Hey Dutch. Have you heard how the recount is going in VA for the state senate seat?

    January 23, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Lynda/Minnesota
    Hey Dutch. Have you heard how the recount is going in VA for the state senate seat?
    ------------------------------------
    It kicks off this Monday at 8am. Republican reign in Virginia is coming to an end.

    January 23, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. The Elephant In The Room

    We have a much more informed and connected electorate these days. Even the political non-junkies can expect to hear distilled, informed critiques [supported by embedded video] from people they trust that reveal the weaknesses of a candidate.

    Ed Gillespe ran the RNC. What exactly has the RNC's record of accomplishment and commentary for latinos, women, gays, blacks, Asians and thinking independent voters been under Eddie's tenure? Answer . . . . it was abysmal. Expect for Gillelspe to be torpedoed by his own words, deeds and documented actions in this Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram era.

    January 23, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. just saying

    actually, a sitting senator with only 50% is a real problem for democrats. gillespie just announced and has spent a penny yet. once the actual campaigning starts gillespie will be polling dead even with warner. obamacare will claim another democxrat victim.

    January 23, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It kicks off this Monday at 8am. Republican reign in Virginia is coming to an end."

    Great news for this cold and blustery land of the frozen!

    Thanks.

    January 23, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Madison

    Why so close?

    January 23, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Madison

    Eddie has a stellar resume - no elected offices, and worked for DUbya, Unfit Mitt, and ODonnell. The only thing that could make his a more appealing candidate was if he held a no show job for cristy.

    January 23, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Otis

    Official a blue state, old General Lee is turning over in his grave

    January 23, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Rusty Krus

    Hello Virginia...Welcome back to sanity!

    January 23, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |