Poll: Comstock trailing by 10 points in Va. House race

Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockGun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (R-Va.) is trailing behind her Democratic opponent by 10 points in one of the top House races this cycle, according to a poll released Tuesday.

A poll conducted by Monmouth University found that Comstock’s Democratic rival, state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, is ahead of the congresswoman, 49 percent to 39 percent. Half of voters polled identify as independents and Wexton leads that voter bloc by 9 points, 45 percent to 36 percent.

Comstock’s district in the Washington, D.C., exurbs has been trending blue in recent elections, despite Republicans' grip on it for years. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP struggles with retirement wave Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE won the affluent and well-educated district in 2016. And one year later in Virginia’s gubernatorial election, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) carried it by more than 12 points.

Following Wexton's primary win earlier this month, nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report shifted the race rating from toss-up to lean Democratic.

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Comstock is leading among white voters who don’t have a college degree, 50 percent to 38 percent. But Wexton holds a 9-point lead among white college graduates and an even wider lead among black, Hispanic and Asian voters, 62 percent to 21 percent.

“This part of the commonwealth was a critical factor in the blue wave that elected Democrats in last year’s election for governor and state legislature,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

“Not much has changed in the political environment since then, with President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE creating a significant drag for Comstock.”

Trump, who lost the district by 10 points, has underwater approval numbers in the 10th District, with 53 percent of voters who disapprove and 42 percent who approve. Of those who oppose Trump, 70 percent said it impacts how they vote in this House election. Meanwhile, 58 percent who support him feel the same about their vote for Congress.

Tuesday’s survey also polled which party voters would rather have in the House majority. Forty-two percent prefer Democrats to have control, while 34 percent would rather have Republicans in control. Twenty-two percent say it doesn’t matter which party controls the lower chamber.

“Comstock may focus on her constituent service record to offset the negative feelings about both Trump and the GOP brand. But this tactic would not appear to give her any advantage against the challenger,” Murray said.

The poll was conducted from June 21-24 and surveyed 400 voters in the district. The margin of error was 4.9 percentage points.