President Trump’s role in the White House may be influencing Virginia voters. Overall, 39 percent of voters say he is a factor in their choice for governor this year and 28 percent say he is a major factor. That’s according to the second part of a poll released this morning by the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University. The findings show more Democrats are motivated by Trump to vote — while 72 percent of Republican Ed Gillespie voters say Trump is not a factor.
NEWPORT NEWS — President Donald Trump’s low popularity among Virginia voters poses a risk for Republican Ed Gillespie in the campaign to be Virginia’s next governor, but Democrat Ralph Northam may have his own vulnerability on the issue of whether to remove Confederate statues and monuments from parks and other public spaces. Those are the findings of a survey of likely voters released Tuesday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.
Trump’s approval rating among all likely voters stands at 35%, according to the survey. Northam voters are nearly united in their disapproval (96%), and more than half say that is a factor in their vote (51%). Among Gillespie Voters, 75% approve of the job Trump is doing, but 16 percent disapprove. Almost three out of four Gillespie voters (72%) say Trump is not a factor in their choice.
“Disapproval of Trump and Congress is clearly motivating Northam’s voters,” said Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center. “Gillespie voters mostly support Trump, but they’d rather keep him
out of the picture here.”
Northam, the current lieutenant governor, leads former Republican National Committee Chair Gillespie, 47%-41%, according to Wason Center survey results released on Monday. Libertarian Cliff Hyra polled at 4%. The poll’s margin of error is +/-3.7%.
On the issue of Confederate monuments, 54% of likely voters say they oppose removing them from public spaces, while 36% support the removal. Northam says he prefers that the monuments be moved to museums, but that local governments should make the decision. Gillespie says the monuments should stay in place with added historical context. Strong majorities of Northam voters (62%) and Democrats (62%) support removing the monuments, but 25% oppose it, and 26% say they symbolize Southern pride, not racism.
“Gillespie appears to have a Donald Trump problem, but Northam may have a Robert E. Lee problem,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.
The full report is available here.