RICHMOND, Va. — A new poll released by Quinnipiac University Wednesday shows Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam leading Republican Ed Gillespie by 8 points in the race for Virginia governor.
Northam leads Gillespie 47 to 39 percent, according to the poll.
“Northam is certainly benefiting from the unpopularity of President Donald Trump. He also is getting a bump from his ties to fellow Democrat, Gov. Terry McAuliffe,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Researchers say they found a wide gender and racial gap in the first post-primary survey.
According to the poll, Northam leads among woman and non-white voters, while Gillespie leads among men and white voters.
The poll finds that Northam leads 54 – 33 percent among women, while Gillespie leads 47 – 39 percent among men.
“Although Northam’s lead is just 47 – 39 percent, other data indicates the difficulty of the job facing Gillespie. Voters have a mixed view of Gillespie,” said Brown.
The survey indicates that Northam has a 39 – 24 favorability rating, with 39 percent of people who haven’t formed an opinion about him yet. Gillespie has a split 29 – 29 percent favorability rating, with 39 percent of people who haven’t formed an opinion about him yet.
Voters say the economy and healthcare are the most important issues in deciding their vote for governor. According to the survey, 31 percent of voters said the economy, while 30 percent list health care; 15 percent list education, with 10 percent each for taxes and immigration.
In another boost for Democrats, Virginia voters say that they would like to see the democrats in control of the state legislature.
Brown said while Northam begins the general election as the favorite, his lead is not an overwhelming one.
The poll was conducted from June 15 – 20. Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,145 Virginia voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points, including design effect.