Race for Virginia Governor Tightens as Election Day Approaches: Poll - NBC4 Washington
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Race for Virginia Governor Tightens as Election Day Approaches: Poll

Democrat Ralph Northam is maintaining his lead over Republican Ed Gillespie, but Gillespie's share has increased slightly

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    What stood out about the debate Tuesday night between the top candidates for governor of Virginia? The candidates' civility, News4's Julie carey said. "They wanted to make sure 'the Virginia Way' was front and center," News4's Aaron Gilchrist echoed. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017)

    With Election Day quickly approaching, the race for Virginia governor is tightening, according to a new tracking poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

    Democrat Ralph Northam is maintaining his lead over Republican Ed Gillespie, but Gillespie's share has increased slightly.

    According to the poll released Tuesday, 48 percent of voters prefer Northam while 44 percent say they would vote for Gillespie. Three percent of voters polled in the survey chose Libertarian Cliff Hyra, and 5 percent said they were  undecided.

    The new poll places Northam's lead within the survey's margin of error. 

    "With even a weak third-party candidate on the ballot, the winner may not cross the 50 percent mark," said Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center. "But there’s plenty of room and time left for Northam to close the deal or for Gillespie to close the gap."

    This poll did not include the state's other races.  

    Virginia is one of only two states electing governors in 2017, and the contest is getting national attention as a potential early referendum on President Donald Trump's first year. The other gubernatrial race is in New Jersey. 

    Gillespie is debating with his advisers whether to ask Trump to campaign with him, The New York Times reported, citing multiple Republican officials. Trump performed well during the presidential election in many rural areas of the state, but not in more populous places like Fairfax County.

    Virginia's election will take place Nov. 7.