NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — With just over two weeks to go until Election Day, incumbent Democrat Elaine Luria and her challenger, Republican Jen Kiggans, are in a virtual tie among likely voters in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District race.
This is according to a new poll released Friday by Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership.
CNU polled 820 people the week of October 12-18, with 30% of respondents considering themselves Democrats, 30% considering themselves Republicans and 35% saying they’re independent voters. The remaining 5% said they either had no preference/didn’t know or support a smaller third party.
Here’s the breakdown the percentage polled by locality inside the district (which changed to lean more Republican this year due to redistricting):
- Accomack 4
- Chesapeake 16
- Franklin 2
- Isle of Wight 5
- Northampton 1
- Southampton 1
- Suffolk 12
- Virginia Beach 59
45% of all voters said they’re likely to vote for Luria, with another 45% likely to vote for Kiggans. 8% said they were still undecided, mostly people who identify as independent.
Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo called the race a “dead heat” and said it “could go absolutely either way.”
The choice is mostly along party lines, but independents are more likely to vote for Luria (46 to 43 for Kiggans), polling shows.
10 On Your Side reached out to both campaigns for comment. Jayce Genco, a spokesman for the Luria campaign replied:
“The only poll that matters is Election Day. Congresswoman Luria is confident she will win this close race based on her record of delivering for Coastal Virginia by cutting costs for working families, expanding health care for veterans, protecting a woman’s right to choose, and securing billions in defense investments to stand up to China.”
Bryan Piligra, a campaign spokesman for the Kiggans campaign responded:
“Senator Kiggans has been campaigning across the second district for 18 months, listening to the issues that voters most care about. This poll shows that Jen’s message is resonating and that our momentum is growing every day. Voters are rallying behind Sen. Kiggans’ campaign and are tired of the Luria-Biden agenda that has caused 40-year high inflation, job shortages and rampant crime right here in the 2nd District. Virginians need a Congresswoman who will fight for them, not for Nancy Pelosi 99% of the time. Come November 9th, Coastal Virginians will have elected a Congresswoman in Jen Kiggans, who will fight for lower taxes, stronger law enforcement, safer communities, a solid education system and a strong military.”
The contest in the Second District is among the most high-profile races in the midterm elections, and data shows it’s also the most expensive race in Virginia this year with millions of dollars in ads for both candidates.
Republicans are looking to take back control of at least one chamber of Congress in the midterm elections, and polling shows they’re more likely to win the House of Representatives.
The top issues overall for voters polled in the Second District are inflation and the economy (39%), abortion (17%) and threats to democracy (14%).
61% of Republicans listed inflation and the economy as their no. 1 issue, compared to 16% for Democrats and 40% for independents.
The top issues polled for Democrats were abortion rights (31%) and threats to democracy (23%).
78% of Democrats said the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade was a major factor in their voting choice for the upcoming election, along with 42% of independents (40% of independents said it wasn’t a factor).
Black voters’ top three issues were inflation (25%), threats to democracy (20%) and abortion (20%).
Meanwhile, Gov. Glenn Youngkin received a 56% approval rating among polled voters, with approval among independents at 58-31. His approval ratings are higher than disapproval ratings for all polled demographic groups, except for Black voters (29 approval/46 disapproval) and registered Democrats (17 to 72).
President Biden has a 41% approval in the 2nd District, but a plurality of voters said Biden is not much of a factor in their congressional voting choice. That includes 62% of independents who said Biden wasn’t factoring into their decision.
Early voting is going on now in Virginia. You can learn more about voting and the candidates in WAVY’s Voter Guide.