Poll: Republicans have enthusiasm advantage heading into fall General Assembly elections

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteA generic ballot test of Virginia voters has Democrats and Republicans running close to neck-and-neck among all voters. But among likely voters, the advantage swings noticeably to Republicans heading into the final five weeks of the 2015 election season.

In polling released this week by Christopher Newport University, Republicans hold a 47-34 advantage in House races among likely voters, a much wider gap than the 41-36 lead the GOP has among all voters. The Senate is split almost evenly among all voters, with Republicans holding a slight 40-39 edge, but it’s 48-35 among likely voters.

“These results suggest that Democrats have time to engage their likely voters, especially in the six highly contested Senate races that will decide whether they can break the Republican hold on the legislature,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at CNU.

Kidd noted that few voters are paying attention to the General Assembly races right now. Only 41 percent of voters say they have given quite a lot or some attention to the upcoming elections, while 58 percent say they have given little or no attention.

Along the same lines, just 34 percent of voters say they have followed news about the candidates for House of Delegates and Virginia Senate, while 66 percent say they have not followed news very closely or at all.

Even so, 90 percent of respondents say they plan to vote, Kidd said.

“These results demonstrate a classic pattern in Virginia’s off-off-year elections,” Kidd said. “A far greater proportion of voters say they intend to vote than are actually paying attention to news about the elections or paying attention to the candidates for office. Our likely voters model allows us to understand who is actually likely to vote, and it suggests turnout at around 26 percent.”

– Story by Chris Graham

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