The Bulletin

Poll: Democrats have edge in competitive Senate districts

By: - October 28, 2019 7:48 am
The Virginia House of Delegates met Thursday to discuss redistricting, but didn't get far. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)

The Virginia House of Delegates. Delegates voted Monday to pass legislation that will provide protections for residents evicted from assisted living facilities in Virginia. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury – Aug. 30, 2018)

Democrats have a 14-point lead over Republicans among likely voters polled in four competitive Senate districts, according to a survey released Monday morning by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

Presented with a generic ballot, 51 percent of likely voters said they plan to vote for a Democrat and 37 percent said they plan to vote for a Republican.

The poll of 849 registered voters was conducted Oct. 1 through 20 and has a margin of error of 3.8 percent. It aggregates responses from residents in the Senate’s 7th District (Virginia Beach – Kiggans v. Trupin), 10th District (Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond – Sturtevant v. Hashmi), 12th District (Henrico – Dunnavant v. Rodman) and 13th District (Loudoun County – Higgins v. Bell).

Among the Wason Center’s findings:

1. Among all voters surveyed in four state Senate districts considered competitive by the partisan outcomes in the 2016 presidential election and 2017 gubernatorial election, Democrats show a 14-point “enthusiasm advantage” over Republicans, 63% to 49%. Among likely voters, the gap narrows to 11 points. However, Republicans are almost as likely to vote as Democrats, with 93% of Democrats reporting they will “definitely vote,” compared to 87% of Republicans.

2. Among likely voters in those districts, Democrats lead Republicans by 14 points on the generic ballot, 51% to 37%. And by 13 points (51% to 38%), those voters prefer that Democrats control the General Assembly after the Nov. 5 election. These advantages increase under our most stringent likely voter model, increasing to 17 points for both questions (53% to 36%).

3. Some of the Democrats’ advantages among likely voters come from Independents, who prefer Democratic candidates for the state Senate by 13 points (45% to 32%) and prefer that Democrats take control of the General Assembly by 9 points (45% to 36%).

4. Asked about the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, 55% of all voters surveyed in these Virginia Senate districts say that opening the impeachment inquiry over his actions involving Ukraine was “the right thing to do.” This includes support from 11% of Republicans, 56% of Independents, and 91% of Democrats. 68% of self-identified “moderates” also agree.

5. Reflecting the nationalized context of these state elections, 59% of voters say they would be less likely to vote for a Virginia Senate candidate who supports President Trump and 54% say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports impeaching Trump.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, 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 is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association.