New poll: Biden safe in Virginia as national race tightens a smidge

2020 election

(© Leigh Prather – stock.adobe.com)

As the presidential race seems to tighten, ever so slightly, in the final week of the 2020 season, Virginia is about as safe as it can be for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

A new poll from the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University has Biden with a 12-point lead over President Trump, and significantly is over the 50 percent threshold – at 53 percent among Virginia voters.

“Biden’s lead continues to illustrate Virginia’s solid shift left in presidential and statewide races,” said Wason Center Research Director Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo.

Virginia had been solid red at the presidential level for decades, before going Democratic in 2008, giving its electoral votes to Barack Obama.

The Commonwealth went to Obama again in 2012, and then to Hillary Clinton, with Tim Kaine, a U.S. senator from Virginia, and former Virginia governor, as her running mate.

The 2016 tally was still relatively close – Clinton defeated Trump by 5.3 points, and didn’t break the 50 percent barrier in the multi-candidate race.

Biden’s big lead seems to portend Virginia advancing to the next stage of its turn blue.

This is going on as the national race has gotten a smidge closer. The Real Clear Politics National Polling Average is at Biden +7.1 today, down from its recent high of Biden +10.3 from back on Oct. 11.

For comparison, Clinton’s lead on Trump on Oct. 28, 2016, in the RCP National Polling Average was +4.6.

Election Day in 2016 was still 11 days out, on Nov. 8, whereas the 2020 Election Day, on Nov. 3, is but six days away.

The trendline toward a tightening 2020 race is also bearing out in the FiveThirtyEight.com polling average, which today stands at Biden +8.6, down from an Oct. 19 high of Biden +10.7.

FiveThirtyEight.com had the race at Clinton +5.7 on Oct. 28, 2016.

A fairer comparison point might be to look at Nov. 2, 2016 – six days out, where we are now from Nov. 3, 2020.

FiveThirtyEight.com had the race at Clinton +3.0 on Nov. 2, 106. RCP had the race at Clinton +1.7.

Down ballot

Back to Virginia, then, which is safe D, but the question turns to a set of competitive congressional districts that flipped the state’s congressional delegation from red to blue two years ago.

“The test on Election Day will be whether that shift holds in the competitive congressional districts that went to Democrats in 2018,” Bromley-Trujillo said.

The strength of Biden at the top of the ticket, and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, who is running for his third term, could be a big help down ballot.

Warner holds a commanding 20-point lead over Republican Daniel Gade, showing strength across all groups except Republican partisans.

This is a seven-point increase from the Wason Center poll in mid-September, with Warner showing significant gains among men, white voters, older voters and non-college-educated voters.

The most recent polling in the Second District, which went D with Elaine Luria in 2018, has Luria at +7 over Republican Scott Taylor.

The only other district with recent polling is the Fifth, currently held by Republican Denver Riggleman, who was upset in his bid for re-nomination in June by conservative activist Bob Good.

The latest polling in the Fifth has the Democratic nominee, Cameron Webb, leading Good by three points in what is basically a toss-up race at this stage.

Story by Chris Graham


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