A Monmoth University poll, the most recently conducted of the surveys released Tuesday, shows Republican Ed Gillespie, a former Bush administration official and Republican National Committee chairman, in front of Democrat Ralph Northam, the Commonwealth’s Lieutenant Governor, 48 percent to 47 percent. Libertarian Cliff Hyra is at 3 percent, and 3 percent of likely voters are undecided.
Last month, Northam had a 5-point lead in Monmouth’s polling, 49 percent to 44 percent. The shifts in both candidates vote shares are within the polls margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Taken together, the Monmouth poll along with new surveys from two Virginia schools, Christopher Newport University and Roanoke College point to a close race in the most closely watched election of 2017. Both parties are using the Virginia contest to test-drive messages and read tea leaves ahead of next years midterms, when 36 states will hold gubernatorial elections.