Currently, the News Virginian, a newspaper based out of Waynesboro, is holding an online poll to gauge support for the various 2014 U.S. Senate candidates. The poll includes all four of the Republican options, Democratic Senator Mark Warner, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis.
So what does the poll show? Currently, Robert Sarvis easily tops the voting with 61.3% of the vote. Mark Warner comes in second at 21.8%. Ed Gillespie leads the Republican field with 13.2% and Shak Hill, the most well-known alternative to Gillespie, is farther behind at 2.5%. Both Chuck Moss and Tony DeTora do not crack the 1% mark.
Although the poll doesn’t display how many people have voted thus far, nor can it be declared scientific and thus accurate by any stretch of the imagination, it still holds some interest.
Looking back to the Republican presidential primaries in 2008 and 2012, Ron Paul often won these internet contests with convincing margins, though I don’t recall him with the kind of lead Sarvis has in this poll. Nevertheless, he fared much better in the online world than the ballot box as liberty-minded voters are typically younger, more technologically connected, and this much more likely to participate in these kinds of polls.
Although it is exceedingly early in the race, if any candidate does reach or exceed the 60% mark on Election Day, it will most likely be incumbent Senator Warner. After all, the last time he ran in 2008, he crushed former Republican Governor Jim Gilmore 65% to 33.7%.
It is true that we won’t know who the Republican nominee will be until after the Virginia Republican Convention in June. However, most pundits and pollsters currently rate this race as fairly safely Democratic. If that trend holds, could Robert Sarvis see a surge in popularity as a protest vote against the major party candidates? I suppose the answer to that question depends on who the Republicans nominate, the unity or disarray of the GOP, the popularity of Mark Warner, and the strength of the Sarvis campaign over the next several months. Perhaps a taste of things to come, I have spoken with a multitude of activists across the state and it seems likely that there will be a revolt in the liberty wing of the Republican Party if Ed Gillespie is the party nominee; if that transpires, Sarvis could see a substantial increase in support.
Want to add your voice to the mix? Click on the link for the News Virginian’s website and cast your vote in this straw poll.