Internal poll shows tight race in Virginia House race

Virginia Democrat Cameron Webb has a narrow lead over Republican Bob Good in the state’s 5th Congressional District, according to an internal poll released Friday by Webb’s campaign.

In the poll, which was obtained exclusively by The Hill, 45 percent of likely voters said they would back Webb while 42 percent said they would vote for Good. The survey marks an improvement for Webb after the same poll in August showed him behind by 2 points.

The results are split along partisan lines, but Webb has been able to win over 11 percent of Republican likely voters, while Good gets the support of 5 percent of likely Democratic voters. Webb has a 42-19 lead among independents, though another 39 percent are undecided.

Both candidates are only moderately well-known, with 65 percent of voters saying they’ve heard of Webb and 68 percent saying the same of Good.

“Voters across Virginia’s 5th District are sick of the same old partisan, Washington politics, which is why they’re responding to our message of putting people over party,” said Webb. “Our message of working for consensus and ensuring opportunities for health and success for everyone is resonating with voters. I look forward to continuing to reach out to voters all across the district in the remaining 25 days.”

Democrats are betting that Webb, a medical doctor who works with coronavirus patients, can make gains in the district after Good, a former Liberty University staffer, unseated Rep. Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanWhy the Supreme Court must be kept at nine justices Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE (R) at the GOP convention after Riggleman officiated a same-sex wedding.

The party sees the district moving in its direction after Republican Tom GarrettThomas (Tom) Alexander GarrettInternal poll shows neck-and-neck race brewing in Virginia House contest GOP congressman loses primary after officiating gay wedding Virginia GOP to pick House nominee after candidate misses filing deadline MORE won there by about 16 points in 2016, but Riggleman won his first term in 2018 by just over 6 points. 

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District as a “toss up.”

The internal poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, surveyed 500 likely voters from Sept. 27-Oct. 1 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

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Democrats Close to Flipping Virginia House District Trump Won by 11 Points, Internal Poll Shows

One point.

That is how much Democrat Dr. Cameron Webb, is trailing Republican Bob Good, a self-described “biblical conservative,” for Virginia’s open 5th Congressional District, according to an internal Democratic poll provided to Newsweek.

The survey suggests that the district, currently held by Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump but was ousted by his party during a June nominating convention after he officiated a same-sex wedding, is becoming increasingly in play for Democrats. Despite Trump winning the district, which stretches from the North Carolina border nearly to Washington, D.C., by 11 points in 2016, Dr. Webb has continued to close his gap with Good.

Riggleman’s ouster for the more conservative Good, who is a former athletics official at Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Liberty University, weakened the chances that a Republican would maintain control of the district, according to election forecasters. However, analysts like Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball still rate the race as “leans Republican.”

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Dr. Webb is one of 34 candidates that House Democrats are looking to help them increase their majority in the lower chamber.

The internal poll was conducted by the Democratic firm Global Strategy Group for 314 Action, an organization that’s committed to electing scientists and STEM professionals to elected office. It showed 46 percent of likely voters backing Dr. Webb while 47 percent went for Good. The survey was conducted among 400 likely general election voters between September 10-14, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

Dr. Webb is now within one point of Good thanks to a five-point gain since August, per 314 Action’s internal polling. By comparison, Riggleman cruised to re-election in 2018, beating his Democratic opponent by seven points.

Cameron Webb
Democratic congressional candidate for Virginia’s 5th District, Dr. Cameron Webb, is seen here teaching in 2019. A new internal poll provided to Newsweek shows Dr. Webb trailing his GOP opponent, Bob Good, by a singular point.
Courtesy of the Webb Campaign

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“Cameron’s background, taken in its entirety, is very impactful to voters right now,” Mia Ehrenberg, Dr. Webb’s communications director, told Newsweek.

Dr. Webb, who practices general internal medicine in Charlottesville and teaches at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, held brief White House stints under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, dealing with health care policy and economic development. He worked on Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative during the final six months of Obama’s tenure, and on prescription drug prices for the first eight months of Trump’s presidency.

The Good campaign did not respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment as of the time of publication. This story will be updated if a response is received.

Both candidates’ familiarity among constituents has jumped in the last month. Sixty percent indicated in the poll that they’re now familiar with Dr. Webb while 63 percent are familiar with Good.

In terms of favorability, Good still trailed Dr. Webb.

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