Democrat Ralph Northam Leads Republican Ed Gillespie in New Poll

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Democrat Ralph Northam is leading Republican Ed Gillespie by six points as Virginia approaches its gubernatorial election, according to a new survey by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

According to the poll released Monday, 47 percent of voters prefer Northam while 41 percent say they would vote for Gillespie. Four percent of voters polled in the survey chose Libertarian Cliff Hyra, and 8 percent said they were  undecided.

"Northam is doing well where he needs to do well,” says Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “A plus-11 advantage in Northern Virginia and plus-20 in Hampton Roads are hard for a Republican to overcome in the rest of the state."

According to the survey, voting trends also favor the Democratic party in the other statewide races. 

Democrat Justin Fairfax is ahead of Republican state Senator Jill Vogel 46 percent to 42 percent in the lieutenant governor’s race while current Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring leads former federal prosecutor and White House aide John Adams by 5 points in the race for attorney general. 

"Right now, the Democratic field clearly has an advantage,” says Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center. "The question is whether they can turn out their voters on Election Day, something the party traditionally struggles with in off-year elections."

Virginia is one of only two states electing governors in 2017, and the contest is getting national attention as a potential early referendum on the president's first year. Most polls have shown a close race in the swing state, where Democrats have won every statewide election since 2009.

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