CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Businessman Jim Justice holds a five point lead over Booth Goodwin, a former U.S. attorney, and is nine percentage points ahead of Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall, 02) in the final MetroNews West Virginia Poll on the Democratic gubernatorial race ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.
It’s 32 percent for Justice, 27 percent for Goodwin and 23 percent for Kessler.
Nearly one in five likely Democratic voters in West Virginia, though, 18 percent, are still not sure which of the three gubernatorial candidates they’ll support, according to poll data from Repass Research released on Thursday morning.
“It appears likely voters in West Virginia are continuing to weigh their options,” said Rex Repass, CEO of Repass Research and director of the MetroNews West Virginia Poll.
Goodwin has gained a little bit of ground during the past three months but, overall, the numbers are not that different from the last MetroNews West Virginia Poll in February which had Justice at 32 percent, Goodwin at 25 percent, Kessler at 23 percent and 21 percent undecided.
Again this time, no candidate tops more than a third among registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters most likely to choose to vote on Democratic ballots.
“Turnout on the Democratic side among younger voters will make a difference in this race,” Repass predicted.
Justice has a 13 to 14 point lead among voters over age 45, those who are traditionally more likely to vote in a West Virginia primary. Goodwin and Kessler are strong among voters under age 45 along with college graduates.
In separate hypothetical races against Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer, 06), the presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee, all three Democratic candidates win, poll numbers showed, but the undecideds remain in the double digits.
Justice puts up the biggest numbers against Cole with 52 percent to Cole’s 34 percent and 14 percent not sure.
Against Cole, Goodwin polled at 47 percent with 39 percent for Cole and 14 percent not sure.
Kessler beats Cole 45 percent to 39 percent with 16 percent of those polled not sure who they would vote for in that case, according to the MetroNews West Virginia Poll.
Overall, the numbers against Cole, who is not facing a challenger in the May primary, improved for all three Democratic candidates compared with February.
Repass Research and Strategic Consulting conducted the MetroNews West Virginia Poll from Apr. 22 – May 2 by questioning a sampling of 315 registered, likely voters for the Democratic gubernatorial race specifically and 596 registered, likely voters overall for the races involving Cole. The overall statistical margin of error is +/-4.0 percentage points.
Created in Jan. 1980, the West Virginia Poll is a non-partisan survey of public opinion.
The results of the MetroNews West Virginia Poll for the presidential races will be released on Friday morning.
Early voting ahead of the May primary election continues through Saturday. On Tuesday, polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.