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Virginia Governor Race: Democrat Ralph Northam leads GOP Candidate

Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam
Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam

Virginia gubernatorial contender Ralph Northam and other Democrats in statewide contests are leading their GOP opponents six weeks before Election Day, according to a new survey of likely voters by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.  



The latest series of polls found Northam with a slight lead or in a dead heat with GOP candidate Ed Gillespie ahead of the November 7 contest.

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According to the poll, Northam has the support of 47 percent of voters while Republican Ed Gillespie has 41 percent. Libertarian Cliff Hyra came third with 4 percent of the vote while 8 percent of voters were undecided.

Northam, the state’s lieutenant governor, is a pediatric neurologist who served two terms in the state Senate. Gillespie, the GOP’s unsuccessful 2014 nominee for U.S. Senate, is a longtime Republican political operative who served as a counselor to President George W. Bush and as chairman of the National Republican Committee (NRC).

“Northam is doing well where he needs to do well,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “A Democratic-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.”

Both candidates are competing to succeed Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) who is prohibited by state constitution from seeking a second consecutive term.




The Wason Center poll results show Northam with double-digit leads in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads – densely populated, urban areas and a keystone to Democratic victories in recent statewide contests. Gillespie had a slight edge among voters in the rural south and southwest Virginia, and an eight-point lead in the Richmond-central-Virginia area.

Northam leads Gillespie among women and young voters under 45, while Gillespie leads Northam among men and older voters. Each candidate has the clear support of his party’s base, and they evenly split independents, 38 percent to 38 percent.




“Northam is doing well where he needs to do well,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “A Democratic-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.”

SEE ALSO: Gallup Poll: Americans favor Democratic Party over GOP.

According to the poll, voters were concerned about improving K-12 education. One-third of voters polled said education is the most important issue the next governor should address.

About 40 percent of Northam voters said education is their most important issue, while 40 percent of Gillespie voters listed cutting taxes as their top concern.

Northam accused Gillespie in several commercials of trying to cut school funding, which Gillespie says is not true but Northam’s campaign says it is inevitable given the Republican’s proposal for tax cuts.




The Wason Center polled down-ballot races. For the race for lieutenant governor, the poll results show Democratic attorney Justin Fairfax leading Republican state Sen. Jill Vogel (Fauquier) by a 46-to-42 margin, Attorney General Mark Herring (D) has the support of 47 percent of likely voters in his bid for a second term, while his opponent John Adams has 40 percent.

In a general test for House of Delegates seats, voters preferred Democrats by a 10-point margin. Republicans control the chamber by a 66-to-34 margin, and all 100 seats are on the ballot in November.

 

 

Contributor, The Liberal Advocate News

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