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CNU Poll: McAuliffe Holds Commanding Lead in Democratic Primary

AP Photo / Steve Helber

With six weeks before the Democratic primary, a new poll shows the race for the party’s gubernatorial nomination is a lopsided one.

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe has a commanding lead in the race for governor, according to a new poll from the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University. A survey of 800 likely Democratic voters has him at 47%.  


Quentin Kidd is director of the Wason Center. 


"His nearest competitor has 21% of the vote, and that is undecided. And then below undecided are all of the other names, Justin Fairfax, Jennifer McClellan and Jennifer Carroll Foy," explains Kidd. "Lee Carter has one percent of the vote. And so it looks to me like McAuliffe is in a really strong position and it doesn't look like anyone of the other four candidates has broken out of the pack." 


In the race for attorney general, incumbent Mark Herring has 42% of the vote compared to challenger Jay Jones, who has 18% support.  


Research director Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo points out McAuliffe and Herring are both white males leading in a diverse field of candidates. 


"Despite kind of a change in the party in terms of a little bit of a shift towards more liberal in the state and those demographics tend to be reflected in more women and people of color so we see that in the field but we're not seeing that in the leaders in these races, at least for the governor and attorney general," Bromley-Trujillo says. 


The race for lieutenant governor isn't as clear. Delegate Sam Rasoul is in the lead with 12% of the vote, but 64% of voters say they're undecided in that race. 


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.


Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.