Survey indicates three-way race before televised mayoral debate

Richmond’s mayoral election is a three-way race, the outcome of which will depend significantly on undecided voters, according to new survey data.

In preparation for hosting the first televised mayoral debate on Oct. 17, local nonprofit business organization ChamberRVA partnered with the Southeastern Institute of Research to conduct a survey of likely voters across the city’s nine districts from Oct. 5-11.

“This election is occurring at a pivotal point in the revitalization of the City of Richmond,” said Chair of ChamberRVA Ned Massee in a statement. “The winner of this election is of critical importance to not only citizens of the city but to all in the Richmond region.”

According to the findings, if the election were held today based on a city-wide popular vote:

  • Former state delegate Joe Morrissey would lead with 20 percent
  • Former Venture Capital CEO Jack Berry would tally 17 percent
  • Former Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney would clinch 15 percent

Although eight candidates are vying for the position, Monday’s debate at the Altria Theatre will only feature the five candidates who had more than a 1 percent overall response rate in an August survey conducted by the Christopher Newport University Wason Center for Public Policy.


Berry, Morrissey and Stoney will be present Monday, as well as 1st District City Councilman Jon Baliles and 9th District representative and Council President Michelle Mosby.

According to the ChamberRVA survey, among “decided” respondents Morrissey leads in six districts. Berry leads in the remaining three (the 1st, 2nd and 4th Districts) and Stoney is in second place to either Morrissey or Berry in all nine districts.

These numbers are likely to shift as the November election edges closer, however. In all but the 1st District — where Berry has a stronghold 42 percent of the vote — the percentage of “undecided” voters exceeds the leading candidate’s percentage of the “decided” vote.

“As of this fieldwork date, the firmly undecided respondents could significantly impact the outcome of the election,” states the Oct. 15 ChamberRVA survey findings report.

ChamberRVA and the Southeastern Institute of Research also issued a corresponding Topline Report on Oct. 13 which gauged the same respondents’ attitudes toward key issues this election.

The report stated that top priorities for respondents includes improving the quality of Richmond Public Schools, reducing the crime rate and delivering basic services, such as filling potholes and collecting garbage. In the 6th District improving public transportation is a high priority.

Monday’s debate at the Altria Theatre is free to the public and will be televised on NBC12 from 7-8 p.m.


Sarah King. Photo by Julie TrippSarah King
Sarah is a senior studying political science and philosophy of law. She is a copyeditor for INK Magazine and reporter for the Capital News Service wire. Last spring, the Virginia Press Association awarded Sarah 3rd place for Public Safety Writing Portfolio and the Hearst Awards recognized her as the 4th place winner for Breaking News Writing. In April, Sarah was invited to the White House for the Administration’s innaugural College Reporter Day. She previously worked as an editorial intern for as Congressional Quarterly Researcher and SAGE Business Researcher in Washington, D.C., as well as RVAmag and
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