Home 2017 Races New CNU Poll: Northam 47%-Gillespie 41%; Fairfax 46%-Vogel 42%; Herring 47%-Adams...

New CNU Poll: Northam 47%-Gillespie 41%; Fairfax 46%-Vogel 42%; Herring 47%-Adams 42%

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From the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University:

Northam leads Gillespie, 47%-41%, for Va. governor; regional and demographic trends favor Democrats

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Democrat Ralph Northam holds a 6-point lead over Republican Ed Gillespie in the campaign to be Virginia’s next governor, according to a new survey by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Northam, now lieutenant governor, is the choice of 47% of the likely voters surveyed, while former Republican National Committee Chair Gillespie is the choice of 41%. Libertarian Cliff Hyra polled at 4%, with 8% undecided. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.7%.

Regional and demographic voting trends evident in recent Virginia elections form the basis of Northam’s advantage, with strong support in populous Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Gillespie’s strongest support is in the rural South-Southwest region as well as in Richmond-Central Virginia. Northam has an 18-point margin over Gillespie among women and voters under age 45. Gillespie has a 7-point advantage among men.

“Northam is doing well where he needs to do well,” says Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “A plus-11 advantage in Northern Virginia and plus-20 in Hampton Roads are hard for a Republican to overcome in the rest of the state.”

The same voting trends favor Democrats by virtually identical margins in the other statewide races. Democrat Justin Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor, leads Republican state Senator Jill Vogel in the lieutenant governor’s race, 46% to 42%, while current Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring leads former federal prosecutor and White House aide John Adams, 47% to 42%, in the campaign for attorney general.

“Right now, the Democratic field clearly has an advantage,” says Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center. “The question is whether they can turn out their voters on Election Day, something the party traditionally struggles with in off-year elections.”

On issues, both Northam and Gillespie voters ranked K-12 education, making the economy less dependent on federal spending, and transportation as high priorities. Gillespie voters also ranked tax cuts as a high priority, while Northam voters ranked Medicaid expansion and coastal flooding and sea level rise as high priorities.

Other findings include:

  • “In a generic House of Delegates ballot, voters favor a Democrat, 47% to 40%.” In Northern Virginia, where there are a number of competitive House of Delegates races, that lead is 52%-38%. In Hampton Roads, where there are also competitive House of Delegates races, it’s 53%-34%.
  • “Northam’s lead over Gillespie is built on strong support from women (+18), voters under 45 (+18), voters in Northern Virginia (+11) and Hampton Roads (+20), and ideological moderates (+26). Gillespie leads regionally in Richmond-Central Virginia
    (+8) and rural South and Southwest Virginia (+5), and among men (+7). Each has the overwhelming support of his party’s base, and they split independents (38% to 38%).”
  • “Republican voters say cutting taxes is a high priority, while Democratic voters say expanding Medicaid and addressing tidal flooding and sea level rise are high priorities. Improving the quality of K-12 education clearly tops the list of issues all voters
    want the next governor to focus on.”

 

  • Day #2 of the CNU poll:

    ‘Trump Effect’ a factor in Virginia governor’s race, but Confederate statues may raise a ‘Robert E. Lee Effect’

    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — President Donald Trump’s low popularity among Virginia voters poses a risk for Republican Ed Gillespie in the campaign to be Virginia’s next governor, but Democrat Ralph Northam may have his own vulnerability on the issue of whether to remove Confederate statues and monuments from parks and other public spaces. Those are the findings of a survey of likely voters released Tuesday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

    Trump’s approval rating among all likely voters stands at 35%, according to the survey. Northam voters are nearly united in their disapproval (96%), and more than half say that is a factor in their vote (51%). Among Gillespie voters, 75% approve of the job Trump is doing, but 16 percent disapprove. Almost three out of four Gillespie voters (72%) say Trump is not a factor in their choice.

    “Disapproval of Trump and Congress is clearly motivating Northam’s voters,” said Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center. “Gillespie voters mostly support Trump, but they’d rather keep him out of the picture here.”

    Northam, the current lieutenant governor, leads former Republican National Committee Chair Gillespie, 47%-41%, according to Wason Center survey results released on Monday. Libertarian Cliff Hyra polled at 4%. The poll’s margin of error is +/-3.7%.

    On the issue of Confederate monuments, 54% of likely voters say they oppose removing them from public spaces, while 36% support the removal. Northam says he prefers that the monuments be moved to museums, but that local governments should make the decision. Gillespie says the monuments should stay in place with added historical context. Strong majorities of Northam voters (62%) and Democrats (62%) support removing the monuments, but 25% oppose it, and 26% say they symbolize Southern pride, not racism.

    “Gillespie appears to have a Donald Trump problem, but Northam may have a Robert E. Lee problem,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.