Clinton leads by 6-8 in Virginia

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new Virginia poll finds that Hillary Clinton is still in a pretty good position in the state. In the full field she leads with 45% to 39% for Donald Trump, with Gary Johnson at 6%, Jill Stein at 2%, and Evan McMullin at 1%. In a head to head contest just against Trump, she leads 50/42. 

Virginia- perhaps more than anywhere else we’ve polled- is somewhere that Republican reluctance to embrace Trump is really hurting him. Clinton is winning 93% of the Democratic vote, to Trump’s 81% of the Republican vote. Third party candidates are combining for 9% of the Republican vote in Virginia, but just 1% of the Democratic vote. Trump’s net favorability rating of -26 at 34/60 is 19 points worse than Clinton’s -7 at 44/51. Again a big piece of the difference is that 90% of Democrats view Clinton positively, while only 73% of Republicans see Trump in a favorable light.

Another thing Clinton has going for her is that 54% of Virginians would rather have another 4 years of Barack Obama as President, to only 41% who would pick Trump. Voters who are undecided in the head to head between Clinton and Trump would prefer Obama over Trump by 29 points. This is something we’re consistently finding in our polling- the voters who are undecided vastly prefer continuing the direction of Obama to the sharp pivot of Trump’s vision for the country. These folks don’t like Hillary Clinton or they’d already be voting for her, but it seems likely for most of these folks the choice is Clinton, third party, or stay home. The least likely possibility is that they’ll end up in Trump’s column and that means if he’s going to come back, he’s probably not going to do it by winning over undecideds.

Generally when a state level politician takes the national stage, we find their standing goes down on the home front. That’s not the case for Tim Kaine- his 50/37 approval rating with Virginians is up a good bit from 43/35 when we last polled the state in June. For some lower information voters Kaine’s selection as the Vice Presidential pick is the first time they’ve given him much thought, and early indications are that for the most part they like what they see. 

Donald Trump made some controversial comments about Vladimir Putin last week, and he finds little support for them from Virginians overall. Only 24% think Putin is a better leader than Barack Obama, who gets 55% on that question. And only 26% like Putin better than Hillary Clinton, who gets 54% on that question. But we continue to find Trump voters going along with most everything he says. 56% of them say Putin is a better leader to 10% for Obama. And 59% of them say they have a higher opinion of Putin, to only 8% who pick Clinton. Of course to put those numbers into some context, 74% of Trump voters support impeaching Clinton the day she takes office if she’s elected to only 13% who support letting her actually take the office she’s elected to, so in comparison Putin’s numbers aren’t as high.

A few other Trump notes:

-26% of Virginians think Trump supported the war in Iraq, 19% think he opposed it, and 42% correctly think that he both supported and opposed the war. Even among Trump’s own voters a 44% plurality think he took both sides on the war and evidently are unbothered by that.

-Trump supporters continue to be convinced that if Hillary Clinton wins the election it will only be because the results were rigged for her. 68% think a Clinton win would be due to voter fraud, to only 20% who think it would come because she got more voters.

-65% of voters think Trump needs to release his tax returns, to only 25% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to.

We took a look at some state issues:

-Voters aren’t familiar with any of their possible choices for Governor next year. Ed Gillespie leads the way with 37% name recognition, followed by Ralph Northam at 26%, Rob Wittman at 25%, Corey Stewart at 22%, and Frank Wagner at 18%. Northam and Gillespie tie in a hypothetical match up at 37%. Northam leads the other Republicans- 38/33 over Wittman, 37/32 over Wagner, and 39/31 over Stewart. But obviously on balance it’s hard to make too much out of any of this given the candidates’ anonymity at this point.

-There continues to be strong voter support for Terry McAuliffe’s push to restore voting rights to felons who have served their prison time and finished parole or probation. 58% think they should be allowed to register and vote, to only 30% who think they should not be allowed to. 

-There’s even stronger support in Virginia for Medicaid Expansion. 63% of voters in the state think it should be expanded to only 25% opposed to that. 

And we touched on a variety of national issues:

-89% of voters in the state support background checks on all gun purchases to only 8% who are opposed to them. That includes support from 97% of Democrats, 85% of Republicans, and 83% of independents.

-81% of voters in the state support barring those on the Terror Watch List from buying guns, only 11% are opposed to that. That idea has the support of 88% of Democrats, 82% of Republicans, and 72% of independents.

-59% of voters in the state would support a ban on assault weapons to 33% opposed to that. Democrats (83/9) are far more unified in their support of an assault weapons ban than Republicans (38/54) are in opposition to one.

-77% of voters in the state support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, including 96% of Democrats, 70% independents, and even 61% of Republicans. Only 10% think the current minimum wage is sufficient, and 11% think the minimum wage should be eliminated altogether.

-Voters in the state support the Affordable Care Act 46/39. Democrats (87%) are considerably more united in supporting it now than Republicans (71%) are in opposing it. Obamacare is just not the electoral liability for Democrats that it once was. 

-68% of voters in the state think there should be Senate hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court to only 17% opposed to that. 87% of Democrats, 62% of independents, and 52% of Republicans favor hearings.

Full results here

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