Article by David Hall
Virginia’s race for governor, which has received national attention for its usefulness as a barometer for national sentiment, is still close with Democrat Ralph Northam leading Republican Ed Gillespie by six percentage points (50% to 44%). These numbers are according to the Roanoke College Poll which routinely measures Virginian political sentiment during both election and off years.
Conducted by the Institute for Policy Opinion and research, the poll showed incredible partisan divides and a higher-than-average unfavorability for president trump at 58%. Favorability for the two candidates, whose race is to be decided Tuesday, November 7th, is tied at 38%. The closeness of the race has attracted national attention.
Virginia, a state that went for Clinton last November, is a prime swing state that’s often used to gauge public sentiment for the president. For this reason, Democrats are desperate to get a win after a devastating loss last November. That high stakes environment has led to some highly negative advertising, with both camps outright calling the other liars. Those claims originated after Gillespie ran ads seeming to link Northam with the violent gang MS-13.
Issues of illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, and Confederate monuments have dominated the airwaves. Nevertheless, according to the poll, Virginians are most concerned with the economy (18%) and healthcare (16%). Virginians seem to think that Gillespie is better for the economy (46%), but that Northam is better equipped to handle health care (48%).
The poll has a margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points and was conducted over 5 days in October. Questions were posed only to likely voters of which were numbered at 607 and delivered over the phone.