PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Trump-style Republican candidate State Sen. Amanda Chase leads former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox and company, and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is ahead of the Democratic field in polling for Virginia’s gubernatorial primaries, but one thing’s clear: most voters statewide are still undecided for statewide races, and no candidate has a sure lock on their nomination.
A new poll released Friday at Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center shows Chase (17%) up 7 points on Cox (10%) in polling, with entrepreneur Pete Snyder at 6%. Hampton Roads native Glenn Youngkin, who’s been running TV ads in a bid to establish name recognition early has 3% in polling.
CNU interviewed 1,005 registered voters between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4 for the survey. The margin of error is 3.4%.
Chase, who’s pushed conspiracy theories including the unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, has doubled down on carrying on former President Trump’s demeanor and politics. Cox, who eventually acknowledged that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, was presented a more moderate choice to Chase, but has veered to the right recently, presenting “cancel culture” as a major issue despite recent polling showing only about half of Americans know what the term means.
Despite polling ahead of other Republicans, Chase faces the difficulty of earning her party’s nomination through a convention instead of a statewide primary election.
McAuliffe, who served as Virginia governor from 2014 to 2018 currently leads the Democratic field with 26%, followed by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (12%). Former Prince William Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy
and Richmond Sen. Jennifer McClellan are at 4% each. Democratic socialist candidate Del. Lee Carter (Manassas) has 1%.
However McAuliffe and Fairfax also have by far higher unfavorables than any other candidate, including Chase (14% unfavorable). McAuliffe is at 25% favorable and 21% unfavorable, and Fairfax is at 17% favorable and 20% unfavorable. McAuliffe has been criticized by some as being part of the Democratic establishment and for being close to the Clintons. Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault, which he has denied.
In other races, Virginia Beach Del. Glenn Davis leads the Republican field for lieutenant governor, but only has 8% polling. No candidate on the Democratic side has really stood out to voters yet, CNU’s poll found.
Virginia Beach lawyer Chuck Smith (10%) leads the Republican primary for attorney general, and current Attorney General Mark Herring has a big lead on the Democratic side (42%).
The other major issue coming up is all 100 of the House of Delegates seats are up for grabs in November. Democrats, who currently control the House, lead Republicans 49% to 37% in polling.
CNU’s poll also reemphasized the deep partisan divide when it comes to Gov. Ralph Northam’s job performance. 83% of Democrats approve, while 79% of Republicans disapprove.