Friday, May 13, 2011

Maloney catches Ireland

The Republican race for Governor in West Virginia has shifted dramatically in Bill Maloney’s direction over the last three weeks and he now has the smallest of leads with 32% to presumptive front runner Betty Ireland’s 31%. It’s a two person race with Clark Barnes at 8%, Larry Faircloth at 6%, Mark Sorsaia and Mitch Carmichael at 4%, Ralph William Clark at 1%, and Cliff Ellis at 0% rounding out the field. 14% of voters remain undecided even 36 hours out from election day, making this a complete toss up between Maloney and Ireland.

When PPP first polled this race in mid-April Ireland led with 31% to Maloney’s 17%. Since that point in time she has not picked up any additional support, while Maloney has seen a 15 percent gain in his standing. We found on that poll that Maloney’s primary problem was name recognition- with voters who knew who he was he actually led Ireland by 14 points, but 62% of voters were familiar with her while only 38% were familiar with Maloney. He’s now closed most of that gap- 65% of primary voters know enough about Ireland to have formed an opinion and the same is true for 60% when it comes to Maloney. Their favorability ratings are now identical at 47%, with Ireland’s negatives slightly higher at 18% to Maloney’s 13%.

If Maloney does indeed pull off the comeback victory it will continue the 2010 trend of right wing candidates knocking off comparative centrists in Republican primaries. Ireland is destroying Maloney by a 44-25 margin with voters describing themselves as moderates. But Maloney is up 33-29 with voters describing themselves as ‘somewhat conservative’ and with ‘very conservative’ voters, who account for the largest segment of the GOP electorate in the state, he’s up 36-31.

Full results here.

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