By John Celock
A new poll shows Democrats leading in all three statewide races in this year’s elections in Virginia.
A poll released Tuesday by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University show Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Justin Fairfax and Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring with leads over their Republican rivals. The leads for all three are fueled by large leads in Democratic heavy Northern Virginia.
In the governor’s race, the poll shows Northam leading GOP rival Ed Gillespie 42 percent to 37 percent with six percent favoring Libertarian nominee Cliff Hyra. The poll comes several weeks after another poll shows Northam and Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, tied in the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
In the governor’s race, the poll indicated that Northam leads Gillespie 54 percent to 25 percent in the Northern Virginia suburbs, a heavy Democratic bastion in the commonwealth. Gillespie leads 47 percent to 21 percent in the rural western part of the commonwealth. The pair are running virtually even in the other parts of the state.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, the poll showed Fairfax leading Republican nominee state Sen. Jill Vogel 43 percent to 38 percent. The poll also showed a strong lead for Fairfax in Northern Virginia, where Vogel’s Senate district is, with Vogel leading in the western part of the commonwealth.
In the attorney general’s race, the poll showed Herring leading Republican John Adams 45 percent to 39 percent. Herring won the attorney general’s office in 2009 in the closest race in Virginia that year. The attorney general poll also showed Herring dominating in Northern Virginia while Adams led in the western part of the commonwealth.
The Virginia elections are being watched closely nationally this year as political types look to see the impact of President Donald Trump’s first year in office. McAuliffe is the only Virginia governor in decades to be elected the year following the election of a president of the same party. The 2009 election was also a rare Democratic sweep of Virginia’s three statewide offices.
Virginia has become one of the most politically divided states in the country in recent years, with Democrats gaining heavy majorities in Northern Virginia and around Richmond, while Republicans continue to win heavily in the more rural areas of the state. Fairfax and Loudon Counties, in Northern Virginia, continue to be swing counties in the state. Democrats have used their base in Northern Virginia to win statewide, while Republicans continue control the state Legislature.