This according to new poll numbers from Quinnipiac University, which has Perriello, the former Fifth District congressman, at 25 percent, to 20 percent for Northam.
More than half the Democratic primary electorate is undecided, suggesting plenty of room for movement between now and June 13.
The fresh Quinnipiac poll has Ed Gillespie comfortably atop the Republican governor’s race, at 28 percent, with Prince William County Board of Supervisors chair Corey Stewart at 12 percent, and State Sen. Frank Wagner at 7 percent.
As in the Democratic race, more than half of the GOP primary electorate is undecided.
“Two months before Virginia Democrats and Republicans pick their candidates for governor, the heavy front-runner in each primary is ‘undecided,’” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Although the race for the Republican nomination is far from over, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is solidly ahead among those who name a candidate.
“Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam originally had been expected to coast to the nomination, but former Congressman Tom Perriello is inching ahead.”
The CNU poll from late March had Gillespie at 38 percent, Stewart at 11 percent and Wagner at 10 percent.
That poll also had the possible November matchups across party lines leaning slightly toward the Republican side, but the new numbers from Quinnipiac give the advantage at this early, early stage to the eventual Democratic nominee.
Perriello defeats Gillespie 46 percent to 33 percent, with Northam leading Gillespie 44 percent to 33 percent – and both have double-digit leads over the other GOP contenders.
“Seven months before the November election, the early signs are very positive for the Democrats,” Brown said.