West Virginia 2020 Democratic primary up for grabs

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – West Virginia’s 2020 Democratic nominee for governor is up for grabs in May as there are no primary front-runners in the race, according to the latest edition of the MetroNews West Virginia Poll.

Democrat candidates Stephen Smith, Ron Stollings and Ben Salango are essentially even in the race for governor among likely registered voters receiving 21 percent, 19 percent and 18 percent of the vote respectively. Rex Repass, President of Research America Inc. reported these results today on MetroNews Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval.
“With three first-time statewide candidates running for the Democratic nomination for governor in May 2020, it is common for a primary race to be this close and to have a high number of undecideds,” Repass said. “This race is reminiscent of past West Virginia Republican primary gubernatorial races when the candidates had low name awareness among registered voters statewide.”

All three candidates will have to work hard to win over the large number of undecided West Virginia voters (42 percent) who may not be tuned into the Democratic primary just yet.

“The high number of undecided voters tells us that plenty of Democrats still don’t know enough about the candidates to make a choice,” Repass said. “With six weeks to go until the filing deadline for the May primary, I expect the candidates to make more public appearances and take a stance on issues important to West Virginia voters.”

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll was conducted between Dec. 4-10 among a sample of 500 West Virginia registered voters who are likley to vote in the May 2020 primary. The overall confidence interval for the survey is +/- 4.4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. The confidence interval varies for individual questions based on how registered voters responded.

Methodology Statement
Results of this edition of MetroNews West Virginia Poll are based on interviews conducted between Dec. 4-10, 2019 with a sample of 500 West Virginia registered voters who are likely to vote in the May 2020 primary, including registered Democrats, Republicans, Libertarian, Mountain Party, and unaffiliated or independent voters. Data collection was completed online and by telephone with purchased sample of registered voters who are likely to vote in primaries.

Registered likely voters in all 55 West Virginia counties were sampled for the survey and modeled to the number of registered voters based on data from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.

When using sample of registered voters and hybrid data collection (online and telephone) it is not appropriate to apply a probability-based margin of error to interviews completed. However, applying statistical tests of significance to each question asked at the 95 percent confidence interval yields an overall statistical error of +/- 4.4 percentage points based on the 500 interviews. The 95 percent confidence interval varies by question.

The purpose of the West Virginia Poll is to provide a snapshot of opinion and timely voter views in the Mountain State. The media sponsor of the West Virginia Poll is MetroNews Radio Network.

Rex Repass is director of the West Virginia Poll and president of Research America Inc. Repass is responsible for questionnaire design, the respondent screening and selection process, data tabulation, statistical analysis, and reporting of results.

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll is a non-partisan survey of public opinion conducted by Repass and Research America Inc. The West Virginia Poll has been directed by Repass and conducted periodically since January 21, 1980. The name The West Virginia Poll is a trademark owned by Research America Inc., all rights reserved.

WV Poll 12-13 release graphic

Respondent Profile
• Gender [n=500]
o Male 48%
o Female 52%

• Age [n=500]
o 18-24 7%
o 25-34 19%
o 35-44 20%
o 45-54 15%
o 55-64 19%
o 65+ 20%

• Region of West Virginia [n=500]
o Northern 50%
o Southern 50%

• Political party affiliation [n=500]
o Democrat 38%
o Republican 36%
o Independent 24%
o Other 2%

• Political Orientation [n=500]
o Conservative 40%
o Moderate 34%
o Liberal 26%

• Education [n=500]
o High School 24%
o Some College 42%
o Bachelor’s 20%
o Master’s + 14%

• Household Income [n=500]
o < $75K 72% o > $75K 23%

Topline Findings

 As you may or may not know, three candidates from the Democratic Party have announced to run for Governor of West Virginia. They are Stephen Smith, Ron Stollings and Ben Salango. If the primary election were being held TODAY and the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination were [ROTATE] Stephen Smith, Ron Stollings and Ben Salango, for whom would you vote? [Caution – Reduced Base n=220]

21% Stephen Smith
19% Ron Stollings
18% Ben Salango
42% Not Sure

About Research America Inc.
Research America Inc. is a custom survey research and strategic consulting firm. The firm’s services range from consulting with clients to identify research objectives, through study design, data collection, analysis, and research-based strategy recommendations. For more information see www.researchamericainc.com.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com