PPP's newest Virginia Senate poll finds a very steady race, with almost no change since the last survey we did there in the spring. Mark Warner leads Ed Gillespie 48/35, compared to a 49/35 advantage when we looked at the race in April. Libertarian Robert Sarvis is proving to be less of a factor than he was in the race for Governor last year- he's polling at just 4% and when you take him out of the mix Warner's lead is pretty much unchanged at 49/37.
Warner has a positive approval rating at 49/40. Meanwhile Gillespie is not proving to be a particularly appealing candidate- only 29% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 37% who view him negatively. Warner has a double digit advantage because he is winning over 17% of the Republican vote, while just 3% of Democrats are going for Gillespie. Warner is even slightly ahead with white voters at 44/43 and with seniors by a wider margin at 48/41, both groups that Democrats don't typically perform that well with.
The General Assembly and its Republican leadership are pretty unpopular with Virginia voters. The General Assembly overall has just a 28% approval rating, with 46% of voters disapproving of it. Democrats (22/52), independents (26/50), and narrowly even Republicans (36/37) all give the General Assembly poor marks. The Republicans leadership in particular is seen favorably by just 33% of Virginians to 47% with an unfavorable opinion. 72% of Virginians oppose budget cuts to K-12 education and teacher salaries, 64% oppose cuts to workforce development funding, 63% support continued tax relief on car sales, and 62% oppose cuts to higher education.
A couple of hotly debated issues over the last year play to Democrats' advantage in Virginia. 62% of voters support increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour, compared to only 30% who are opposed. 90% of Democrats, 56% of independents, and even 37% of Republicans support the minimum wage increase. There's also 55/35 support for Medicaid expansion with 87% of Democrats supporting it, independents behind it by a 50/36 margin, and 25% of Republicans in favor.