Kim Gray’s support has plunged from 33 percent to 16 percent, just ahead of Alexsis Rodgers at 15 percent, according to a new poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney stayed solid at 36 percent. Justin Griffin dropped to 3 percent, and Tracey McLean got 1 percent. 30 percent of Richmond’s voters are undecided about the mayoral election.
“The interesting thing about all the polls over this year [is] Stoney seems to get roughly the same amount. 30-40 [percent], somewhere in there,” pundit Paul Goldman told The Virginia Star. “Kim [Gray] has normally been close. This is the first one that has her falling behind. Alexsis [Rodgers’] vote has also been remarkably the same in the low teens in all the surveys.”
In a statement, Kim Gray said, “The polling numbers are inconsistent with other reputable polls that we have reviewed. One glaring similarity between all the polls is that the Mayor’s unfavorable percentages are high and he hasn’t been able to get his support percentage above the 35 percent to 37 percent range. We will continue to work to gain support from undecided voters.”
Goldman said that it is difficult to compare polls from two different pollsters. Nevertheless, he is concerned about the validity of the high numbers of undecided voters reported in the latest poll, and the low numbers of undecided voters reported by the previous poll.
“There are two polls that have undecideds that don’t make any sense,” Goldman said. According to Goldman, either methodology or poor-quality polling could explain the difference. He said normally he would disregard polls showing unusual results, looking for additional polling to confirm or refute previous polls.
The high numbers of undecided voters show Stoney’s unpopularity, but that challenge for Stoney is offset by having four challengers to split his opposition. “Normally at this stage undecideds don’t want to vote for the incumbent. They’re looking to see the other choices but they haven’t quite settled on any.”
Goldman added, “Clearly that poll would indicate that if you’re Alexsis [Rodgers] you should be going after Kim [Gray] more than Stoney. She’s too far behind Stoney, and that [applies] to vice-versa. So in that sense, this could work out well for Stoney because these two challengers would have a reason to fight themselves.”
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