Polls show governor's race may be tightening

Geneva Matthews
October 19, 2017

With most polls showing Northam slightly ahead in a relatively close race, money could be an important factor in late October and early November when both campaigns are looking to flood the TV airwaves with ads in what is expected to be a low-turnout election.

Republican Ed Gillespie is gaining strength in the campaign for governor of Virginia, a race Democrats are trying to make a referendum on President Donald Trump, according to a new poll by Monmouth University. Northam also reported 6,860 donations under a $100 in September, more than twice the number of small-dollar donations Gillespie received.

Specifically, Fairfax refuses to support the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a planned natural-gas line that would span 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina, crossing through much of Virginia on its way.

"With even a weak third-party candidate on the ballot, the victor may not cross the 50% mark", said Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center.

"We have the resources we need to get our message out", he said. Overall, 28% say their vote is a message of disapproval and 17% say it is a message of support.

Overall in Virginia, although nearly 1 in 3 voters cite Trump as a factor in their choice, a strong majority of Gillespie voters (75%) say the president is not a factor, and a majority (58%) of Northam voters also say he is not a factor. Northam is trying to tie Gilespie, a traditional Republican, to Trump. Almost 3 out of 4 Independents (71%) say Trump is not a factor in their choice.

"Northam may hope there's a McAuliffe Effect to add to his advantage in the Trump Effect", said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. The poll has a 4.2% margin of error.

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