Biden and Warner have double-digit leads in Virginia, VCU poll finds
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020
Executive assistant to L. Douglas Wilder
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Farrah Stone, Ph.D.
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Democrats Joe Biden and Mark Warner are ahead of their opponents by double-digit margins, according to a new statewide poll conducted by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Biden is ahead of Donald Trump by 14 percentage points (53%-39%) and Warner is ahead of Daniel Gade by 17 points (55%-38%). Gender and region were significant to the vote choice for both races. In the presidential race, women were more likely to prefer Biden over Trump by 22 percentage points (58%-36%) and men prefer Biden over Trump by a smaller margin of 5 points (47%-42%). This represents a shift for men, who were more likely to say they would vote for Trump in a poll released by the Wilder School in July.
Regionally, Biden has large leads in South Central Virginia (65%-22%), Northern Virginia (59%-32%) and Tidewater (56%-33%) and Trump has large leads over Biden in the West (63%-36%) and Northwest (58%-36%). Independents are breaking toward Biden by 8 percentage points (46%-38%), with 14% remaining undecided. In the U.S. Senate race, gender and region followed the same trend as the presidential race. And Warner enjoys a greater level of support from independents, with a 16-percentage point lead over Gade (54%-38%).
The poll also provides additional insight into Virginians’ opinions on the Kamala Harris nomination and mail-in voting.
“The VP choice by Biden doesn’t appear to have significant influence on any group. I think the Biden camp needs do more connecting, particularly with minority communities,” said former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. “The anti-Trump vote will always be there. That’s why the Biden vote needs to be whetted.”
The telephone survey of 804 adults living in Virginia was conducted between Aug. 28 and Sept. 7. It has an estimated margin of error of 5.17 percentage points for all adults sampled, and 6.22 percentage points for likely voters.
Among the poll’s key findings:
- Seven in 10 Virginians (70%) say the selection of Harris for vice president will have no impact on their decision to vote for Biden. While a majority of Virginians (58%) say they have heard a lot about Biden selecting Harris as his running mate, 70% say it will have no impact on whether they vote for him. Sixteen percent said it would make them more likely to vote for him, while 13% say it will make them less likely. Independent voters reflected the same trend, with only 12% saying it makes them more likely to vote for the Democrat and 70% saying it will have no impact. Sixteen percent said it would make them less likely.
- Virginians are split on whether mail-in votes will be accurately cast and counted. Half of respondents (50%) said they are very or somewhat confident that, across the country, mail-in votes for president will be accurately cast and counted, while 48% said they are not too or not at all confident. Republicans were most likely to be skeptical with 67% saying they are not too or not at all confident, and 46% saying they are not at all confident in the process. Independents are evenly split with 48% saying they are very or somewhat confident and 48% saying they are not too or not at all confident. Democrats were more likely to trust the process with 68% being very or somewhat confident. Regionally, the West and Northwest were most skeptical with 62% and 59% saying they are not too or not at all confident.
For the full poll results and analysis, visit https://oppo.vcu.edu/media/oppo/September2020Release1final.pdf.
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