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New poll: Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, Mark Obenshain maintain leads

A new Christopher Newport University poll has Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam and Republican Mark Obenshain with varying leads in their statewide races.

economic-forecast-headerMcAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli 45 percent to 38 percent in the governor’s race, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis polling 10 percent. In the CNU poll, McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli by 16 points (51 percent to 35 percent) among women and has an eight-point lead (42 percent to 34 percent) among independents.

McAuliffe also leads Cuccinelli in vote-rich Northern Virginia by 15 points (52 percent to 37 percent), and only trails in one region of the state, the Central Virginia/Richmond region, by a scant two percentage points (40 percent to 38 percent).

An interesting tidbit from the governor’s race polling – the number of solid voters among the Sarvis electorate is similar to the solid voters ready to vote on Tuesday for the major-party candidates, suggesting that unlike other third-party candidates who poll well before an election and then tank on Election Day as voters decide to cast their lots with a candidate from the Big Two, Sarvis may actually hold onto his support.

“The fact that Sarvis continues to poll around 10 percent, coupled with the fact that his supporters are becoming as firm in their decision as the McAuliffe and Cuccinelli voters, suggests that he is not going to fade late in this election,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy. “Sarvis’ presence in the race is clearly shaking things up as we move toward Election Day.”

Down ticket, Northam leads Republican E.W. Jackson in the lieutenant governor’s race by 16 points (51 percent to 35 percent).

“Northam’s lead is solid, and across all demographic groups, and importantly above 50 percent in the last two Wason Center Polls,” said Kidd. “Jackson’s weakness appears to be his inability to close the deal with members of his own party – losing 18 percent of Republicans to Northam, and with independents – losing them to Northam by 14 percent, and with female voters – losing them to Northam by 18 percent.”

Herring leads Republican Mark Obenshain in the attorney general race by a slim two-point margin (45 percent to 43 percent). Obenshain benefits from holding the gender gap to a smaller margin (trailing among women by six points) because he is winning the independent vote by 15 points.

“That’s a lot of ballot switching,” said Kidd. “The attorney general’s race is the one we are likely to stay up late for on Election Night.”

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