3:42 PM 06/06/2014
Neil Munro
The Daily Caller

A poll of Republican primary voters commissioned by The Daily Caller shows that GOP Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor is just above 50 percent in the hard-fought race for the 7th district nomination.

The poll showed that eight days before polling day on June 10, Cantor had firm support from 40 percent of 583 active primary voters, while challenger Dave Brat has firm support from 28 percent of those voters.

Another 12 percent of the respondents leaned towards Cantor, 11 percent leaned towards Brat, and 9 percent were undecided or declined to answer, said the poll, which was conducted June 2 by Vox Populi Polling.

That leaves Cantor with 52 percent support on June 2, his rival with 40 percent support, and 9 percent undecided.

For Cantor, that’s a sharp fall from 2012, when he defeated his primary opponent by 79 percent to 21 percent.

Cantor’s campaign office dismissed the poll. “We’re going to win by a much stronger margin… our internal polling shows that,” Ray Allen, Cantor’s campaign chief, told TheDC. Allen said he had not decided whether to release his own campaign’s polls.

“We’re gaining by the day, it’s going great,” Brat told TheDC as he walked on stage for another evening rally in Culpepper. Donations are coming in, and “we’re surging across the board… we’ll win by a few percentage points,” predicted Brat, an economics professor at a Virginia college.

Cantor’s modest lead is an warning for the GOP leadership, which is facing much criticism from its populist base, including from Tea Party members.

Twenty-two percent tagged “jobs and economy,” and 30 percent picked “government spending and debt,” are their top issues. Voters who said jobs and spending are their top issues overwhelmingly support Cantor.

Only 9 percent of respondents in the poll said immigration was their top-most issue. Cantor’s team has flooded mailboxes with flyers saying that says he has blocked the Senate’s June 2013 rewrite of immigration laws, and that he opposes amnesty for illegals.

The poll shows that Cantor’s primary voters strongly oppose illegal immigration. Sixty-four percent said government should focus on blocking illegal immigration, while only 26 percent said the focus should be to “deal with the immigrants who are currently in the U.S. illegally.”

Only 23 percent said “there needs to be a humane way for immigrants to come out of the shadows and gain legal status.” In contrast, 33 percent support deporting “every immigrant who is in the U.S. illegally.” Forty-four percent want “something in between” legalization and complete deportation, said the poll.

The poll of 583 active GOP primary voters was conducted on June 2nd. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus four percentage points.