Poll: Warner maintains big lead in Virginia

Greg Nash

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) maintains a big lead in his reelection campaign against former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie (R) in a new poll.

Warner has, however, dipped below 50 percent, according to Quinnipiac University.

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Warner leads Gillespie by 46 percent-31 percent in the poll, with 6 percent of voters backing Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Just under half of voters — 49 percent — say Warner deserves reelection, a high number for a swing-state senator of either party.

"Mark Warner passes for the closest thing to a household name in Virginia politics," Quinnipiac Poll Assistant Director Peter Brown said. "He has a strong job approval rating and is flirting with the magic 50 percent threshold that generally marks an incumbent as a heavy favorite for reelection."

Warner has long been the most popular politician of either party in Virginia, but President Obama's weak approval ratings in the commonwealth — he's at 44 percent approval in the poll — has Republicans hopeful Gillespie can make Warner work for his reelection.

The live-caller poll of 1,288 registered voters was conducted from March 19-24 and has a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.