CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With three weeks left before the Nov. 8 General Election the camps of gubernatorial candidates Jim Justice and Bill Cole promoted new polling numbers Monday with each campaign declaring they have the momentum.
The Democratic gubernatorial nominee Justice is leading the Republican Cole 44 percent to 34 percent, according to Justice pollster Jefrey Pollock of Global Strategy Group. During an interview on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Pollock said Justice has been able to differentiate himself from fellow Democrat, presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
“Jim Justice is winning those conservative Democrats by an overwhelming margin. He’s winning them 70-30,” Pollock said. “Hillary Clinton is losing those conservative Democrats (in W.Va.) 18 (percent) to 80 (percent) and I’m not making that up.”
The Justice poll from GSG has Mountain Party candidate Charlotte Pritt with 8 percent and Libertarian David Moran with 2 percent.
Cole’s poll, taken between Oct. 8-10 by a group called NMB Research, has the candidates tied at 39 percent, according to West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas.
“This is now moving in the correct direction. It’s now moving with momentum as more folks are getting to know Bill Cole and more folks are tuning into the election,” Lucas said Monday on “Talkline.”
The Justice poll still has 12 percent undecided, Pollock said.
“Could the race tighten? Absolutely there’s no double about it. But there’s nothing in the data to indicate this race is close,” Pollock said including the favorable’s and unfavorable’s. “Jim Justice favorable’s right now is 50 percent (favorable) to 26 percent (unfavorable). Bill Cole’s favorable’s is 38 percent to 34 percent. So Jim Justice is well-liked by a two to one margin where Bill Cole is even.”
Recently released numbers show more newly registered voters, who have registered since the May election, have chosen to register either as Republican or independent. Lucas said that’s good news for Cole and other GOP candidates.
“We know we can win a governor’s race with a registration deficit and right now this deficit is the smallest it has been in modern electoral history. So we are very excited about where we are,” Lucas said.
The Global Strategy Group Poll has Donald Trump with a 58 percent to 31 percent lead over Clinton. The poll shows Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey with a 42 percent to 40 percent lead over Democratic challenger Del. Doug Reynolds.
The Justice poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
The next MetroNews West Virginia Poll, which will focus on the gubernatorial race, is expected to be released in the next week to 10 days.