Poll: Dem leads Va. gov race by 6 points
© Getty Images - Greg Nash

Democrat Ralph Northam holds a six point lead over Republican competitor Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor's race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday. 

The poll shows Northam, the state's lieutenant governor, polling at 44 percent among Virginia voters. Gillespie trails Northam by 6 points, with 38 percent. 

Northam could get a boost from voter perceptions of current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), with 51 percent of voters saying they approve of the job the governor is doing.

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That number is up from from 47 percent in a Qunnipiac poll released in June. McAuliffe is restricted to one term in office by term limits.

A poll released on Tuesday by Virginia Commonwealth University showed Northam polling at 42 percent among the state's likely voters, and Gillespie polling at 37 percent. 

The studies come as the race for the state's governor's mansion intensifies. 

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia officially endorsed Northam last week, while Planned Parenthood Virginia’s PAC announced it would be spending $3 million on canvassing, online and mail efforts in the campaign. 

Vice President Pence will join Gillespie at a fundraiser later this month. 

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted on August 3-8 among 1,082 Virginia voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.