Poll: Dem leads by 14 in Virginia governor’s race

Poll: Dem leads by 14 in Virginia governor’s race
© Greg Nash

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) leads Republican Ed Gillespie by 14 points in the race to be the next Virginia governor, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday.

The poll found Northam taking 53 percent over Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, at 39 percent. In the previous Quinnipiac University survey, released in September, Northam led by 10 points, 51 to 41 percent.

The survey appears to be an outlier. Three polls released in October have found Northam ahead by between 4 points and 6 points, while a fourth poll, conducted by Monmouth University, found Gillespie ahead by 1 point.

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Northam led Gillespie by 3.5 points in the RealClearPolitics average before the Quinnipiac survey was released. 

The Nov. 7 contest has attracted national attention.

Vice President Pence has campaigned for Gillespie, who has plunged into some of the same culture wars that have been the hallmark of President Trump’s administration. Gillespie has accused Northam of being weak on crime and supporting immigration policies in Virginia that help gangs like MS-13.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign slams Trump's Rose Garden event as 'sad affair' New shutdowns add to Trump woes CNN cuts away from Trump's 'campaign-type' Rose Garden speech MORE has campaigned for Northam, and former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe four China strategies Trump or Biden will need to consider Largest Democratic PAC portrays Trump as strongman in bilingual Florida ad Larry Hogan's hopes MORE will hit the campaign trail for him later this week, marking the former president’s first return to campaign politics.

Northam’s lead in the Quinnipiac survey is bolstered by his support from women — he leads Gillespie 61 to 31 percent in that demographic — and independents, with whom he has a 53 to 39 percent advantage.

Gillespie leads Northam among white voters, 48 to 47 percent. But Northam runs up the score among nonwhite voters in the poll, 71 to 15 percent.

Northam is viewed favorably by 51 percent of Virginians, while Gillespie is under water, with 39 percent viewing him positively and 45 percent negatively.

Trump lost Virginia by more than 5 points in 2016, and voters there say they disapprove of the job he is doing by a margin of 62 to 35 percent, according to Quinnipiac.

The Quinnipiac University survey of 1,088 likely voters in Virginia was conducted between Oct. 12 and Oct. 17 and has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.