Poll suggests support for a Democratic majority in the General Assembly has fallen since last year

Virginia State Capitol
The Virginia State Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Fewer people are sure which party they want to control the General Assembly following a tumultuous six months for the state’s top three elected officials, all Democrats, according to a new poll from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Public Policy.

A plurality of respondents (43%) said they preferred Democrats to take control of the two chambers Republicans narrowly hold, but the number dropped nine points since VCU asked the same question last July. Republicans saw a smaller dip, with support for a GOP-controlled legislature dropping four points to 28 percent.

And the percentage of people unsure which party should take over increased 12 points to 29 percent.

“From the public’s prospective and a politician’s perspective, it’s up for grabs,” said Farrah Stone, who directed the poll.

All 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for re-election in November. Democrats need to gain two seats in the House of Delegates and the Senate for a majority. If successful, it would be the first time since 2012 Democrats have held a majority in the Senate and the first time since 2000 Democrats were the majority party in the House.

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.
Ned Oliver
Ned, a Lexington native, has a decade’s worth of experience in journalism, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He also has the awards to show for it, including taking a pair of first-place honors at the Virginia Press Association awards earlier this year for investigative reporting and feature writing. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. Contact him at [email protected]