News Release from Christopher Newport University:
Warner leading Gillespie, 51-39, in U.S. Senate race, showing broad support by issues, ideology and region
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Republican challenger Ed Gillespie has converted some undecided voters since Labor Day, but Democratic Sen. Mark Warner still holds a commanding lead in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, according to a statewide survey released today by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.
Likely voters favor Warner by 51%, compared with 39% for Gillespie, according to the survey. Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis holds a 3% share of the overall vote, with 7% undecided.
Warner’s lead is broad, as independents, ideological moderates and some ideological conservatives add to his strong standing among Democrats, women and African-Americans. He leads Gillespie in every region of the state and on every issue on which voters were polled, including the economy, health care, the budget deficit, immigration, foreign policy and the environment.
“Voters trust the competence of Mark Warner on the important issues of the day, especially the one they say matters the most – jobs,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy. “Ed Gillespie has only a few weeks to convince voters that he would do a better job than Warner, and at this point in the race he has not done that.”
Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, trailed incumbent Warner 53% to 31% in the Wason Center’s Sept. 10 poll, conducted just as the pace of campaign ads and campaign news picked up after Labor Day. His gains in this poll appear to come from previously undecided voters and from those who previously favored Libertarian Sarvis, whose support fell from 5% last month to 3% in this survey.
Sarvis appears to be less of a factor in this election than in last year’s gubernatorial contest. At this point in last year’s election, a Wason Center poll showed that 8% of likely voters preferred Sarvis over Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Sarvis won just under 7% of the vote on Election Day 2013, more than the margin by which McAuliffe defeated Cuccinelli.
The Wason Center interviewed 839 registered Virginia voters, Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2014. The margin of error for the whole survey is +/- 3.5% at the 95% level of confidence.