Poll: Dem Northam leads Virginia governor race by 13 points

Poll: Dem Northam leads Virginia governor race by 13 points
© Getty Images - Greg Nash

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) holds a double-digit lead over Republican Ed Gillespie in the race to be the commonwealth's next governor, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

A Washington Post-Schar School poll found that Northam has taken a 13-point lead over Gillespie with just one month left before the November election. Just more than half of likely voters, 53 percent, said they would back Northam in a three-way matchup between Gillespie and libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra. Just 4 in 10 Virginians said they would support Gillespie.

Hyra's support draws evenly from both camps, and a hypothetical head-to-head matchup without Hyra shows the two candidates increasing their support by just 1 percentage point each.


Gillespie suffers from higher unfavorable ratings than Northam in the poll, with 38 percent of likely voters reporting a favorable impression of the candidate compared to 37 percent with an unfavorable opinion. Northam, who holds a 44 percent favorability rating in the poll, was viewed unfavorably by just 28 percent of voters.

Northam also led Gillespie by 10 points on the question of which candidate would be better at reaching across the aisle and finding bipartisan solutions. Forty-one percent of voters said Northam is more likely to work with Republicans than Gillespie is to work with Democrats.

The lieutenant governor's support in the poll comes despite his stance on Confederate monuments, according to the data.

Fifty-seven percent of likely voters said that Confederate monuments should stay up in the wake of the violence at a white supremacist rally Charlottesville, a stance that Northam opposes. This is likely due to voters' perception of the issue's importance: Just 3 percent of likely voters said this was the most important issue facing the state.

The Washington Post-Schar School poll surveyed 1,121 adults by telephone in the state between Sept. 28 to Oct. 2. The poll contains a margin of error of 3.5 percent.