Poll shows presidential race tightening in Virginia
A new poll shows the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is tightening in Virginia.
A University of Mary Washington statewide survey released on Thursday showed 40 percent of likely voters backing Clinton while 37 percent favor Trump.
Libertarian Gary Johnson received the support of 8 percent of the likely voters in the survey of 1,006 adult Virginians.
The university said the 3 percentage point difference between the top candidates is within the poll’s margin of error.
By contrast, a Washington Post poll of likely voters gave Clinton a 7 percentage point lead.
“Mary Washington’s latest survey demonstrates that Virginia remains one of the nation’s most purple states,” Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at UMW and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies that sponsored the poll, said in a statement. “This survey demonstrates that the Trump campaign is wise to focus its resources on Virginia, and that the Clinton campaign is making a mistake by directing its attention elsewhere.”
The poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for Mary Washington on Sept. 6-12.
Other candidates receiving support in the poll include Independent Party candidate Evan McMullin, 3 percent; and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 1 percent. The survey is one of the first to include all five candidates who have qualified for the Virginia ballot.
Clinton had a larger margin among registered voters, 38 percent to 33 percent, with 10 percent for Johnson. Among all adults surveyed, Clinton had the support of 37 percent, compared to 31 percent for Trump and 10 percent for Johnson.
Virginians expressed considerable dislike for both major party candidates: 51 percent of likely voters had a strongly unfavorable impression of Trump, and 50 percent felt the same about Clinton. For both candidates, 21 percent of likely voters had a strongly favorable impression.
Thirty-nine percent of likely voters rated Donald Trump “honest and trustworthy,” while 33 percent of likely voters believe those terms apply to Hillary Clinton.
Among likely voters, 54 percent said Clinton had the “right kind of temperament and personality to be a good president,” compared to 34 percent who said that about Trump.
Among likely voters 36 percent said Trump was “prepared for the job of president,” compared to 56 percent who said the same thing about Clinton.
Male registered voters in Virginia favored Trump by a margin of 35 percent to 32 percent, with 14 percent favoring Johnson. Female registered voters favored Clinton by a margin of 44 percent to 31 percent, with 6 percent favoring Johnson.
White registered voters favored Trump by a margin of 42 percent to 29 percent, while African-American registered voters favored Clinton by a 70 percent to 5 percent margin. Hispanic registered voters favored Clinton by a 43 percent to 28 percent margin. Johnson had the support of 13 percent of the Latino registered voters, 11 percent of the white voters and 5 percent of the African-American voters.
“The large number of voters not prepared to commit to either of the two major party nominees demonstrates that the Democratic and Republican campaigns still have a lot of persuading to do in Virginia this fall,” Farnsworth said.
Among likely voters, 32 percent of those surveyed described themselves as Democratic, 30 percent described themselves as Republican and 35 percent described themselves as independent.
The survey included 397 landline interviews and 609 cell phone interviews. The margins of error are plus or minus 3.6 percentage points for results based on full sample, 3.9 percentage points for results based on registered voters and 4.4 percentage points for results based on likely voters.