Poll: Justice leads Cole in WV governor race

By From staff reports
Gazette-Mail file photo
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice (right) leads Republican Bill Cole in the race for governor, according to the latest MetroNews West Virginia Poll, which was released Friday.

A statewide poll released Friday shows Democrat Jim Justice holding a double-digit lead over Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, in the November election for West Virginia’s governor.

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll, conducted by Repass Reseach, shows Justice leading Cole 46 percent to 32 percent. Charlotte Pritt, Mountain Party candidate and former Democratic candidate for governor, had 8 percent support, with Libertarian David Moran polling at 5 percent.

Nine percent of those polled said they were undecided. Constitution Party candidate Phil Hudok was not included in the poll.

The West Virginia Poll shows Cole receiving support from 62 percent of registered Republicans, about a 20 percent drop-off compared to Republicans supporting presidential candidate Donald Trump, despite Cole campaign ads portraying a Cole-Trump team.

“Jim’s lead will continue to grow once West Virginians learn more about the self-serving agenda of Bill Cole that’s failed the state,” Justice campaign spokesman Grant Herring said in a statement. “Jim is gaining support from Republicans, Democrats and independents across West Virginia.”

The Cole campaign and the West Virginia Republican Party put out statements Friday that attacked the poll itself, calling it “highly flawed” and “ridiculous,” and cited recent races where the Repass polling firm has underestimated Republicans’ performance in political races.

The results seem consistent with other polling in the race, though, including an internal poll conducted by the Justice campaign and released Aug. 8 showing Justice leading Cole 47 percent to 37 percent. That poll, which had 15 percent of likely voters undecided, did not poll the third-party candidates.

The Repass poll of 435 likely voters was conducted between Aug. 9 and 28, and has a margin of error of 4.7 percent.

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