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C h r i s t o p h e r N e w p o r t U n i v e r s i t y

THE WASON CENTER

October 28, 2020

Biden leads Trump, 53%-41%, among likely Va. voters;


Warner leads Gade, 57%-37%, in U.S. Senate race;
redistricting amendment strongly favored, 54%-24%
Summary of Key Findings
1. Democrat Joe Biden enters the final week of voting with a 12-
point lead over President Donald Trump among likely Virginia
voters, 53%-41%.
2. For U.S. Senate, Democrat Mark Warner holds a commanding
20-point lead over Republican Daniel Gade, 57%-37%,
3. Voters show strong, bipartisan approval (54%-24%) for
Constitutional Amendment 1, establishing a redistricting
commission to draw state and congressional district lines.
4. Biden’s advantage is built on Democrats’ usual coalition of
Black voters (90%-9%), women (60%-38%), and college-
educated voters (60-35%), plus a lead among older voters
(54%-42%) and an even split among men (46%-45%).
5. Virginia voters say the COVID-19 pandemic is the most
important issue for the next president to address (29%),
followed by the economy (21%) and health care (13%).
For further information, contact:
Dr. Quentin Kidd qkidd@cnu.edu O: (757) 594-8499
Academic Director @QuentinKidd M: (757) 775-6932
Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo rebecca.bromleytrujillo@cnu.edu O: (757) 594-9140
Research Director @becky_btru M: (269) 598-5008


Analysis
Presidential Race: With Election Day just under a week away, Democrat Joe Biden
holds a commanding lead over President Donald Trump in Virginia. Among likely
voters, Biden leads Trump by 12 points, 53%-41%. Very few voters remain undecided
(4%), with many voters having already cast their ballots in-person or by mail.

“Biden’s lead continues to illustrate Virginia’s solid shift left in presidential and
statewide races,” said Wason Center Research Director Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo. “The
test on Election Day will be whether that shift holds in the competitive congressional
districts that went to Democrats in 2018.”

Biden’s lead among Virginia voters is partially built from a large gender gap. Women
support Biden over Trump 60%-38%, while men, usually Republican-leaning, are
closely split at 46%-45%. In 2016 Trump’s support among men in Virginia was 52% to
Hillary Clinton’s 43%. Biden’s lead also stems from very strong support in the
traditional Democratic coalition of Black voters (90%-9%) and college-educated voters
(60%-35%), while among voting groups that tend to support Republicans, Trump shows
only a small advantage among non-college educated voters (48% to 46%) and trails
Biden among voters 45 and older (54%-42%). Both hold their partisan base, with 90% of
Republicans supporting Trump and 93% of Democrats supporting Biden.

U.S. Senate: Democrat Mark Warner leads Republican Daniel Gade by 20 points
among likely voters (57%-37%), showing strength across all groups except Republican
partisans. This represents a 7-point increase from the Wason Center poll in mid-
September. Warner continues to do very well with the Democratic coalition of college-
educated voters (62%-33%), younger voters (55%-35%), Black voters (85%-3%) and
women (63%-34%), but also leads among men (51%-39%), voters 45 and older (58%-
38%) and non-college-educated voters (51%-41%), and matches Gade among white
voters (48%-48%). Since the September survey, Warner has gained significantly in those
Republican-leaning groups. Gade’s support is derived from his Republican base (86%).

Constitutional Amendment: Virginia voters continue to show strong support (54%-


24%) for a state constitutional amendment creating a commission to draw boundaries
for Virginia’s 11 U.S. Congressional districts, 40 state Senate districts and 100 House of
Delegates districts. The 30-point lead comes from a strong preference in favor of the
amendment across every voting group, though 22% are undecided. Democratic voters
strongly support the measure (66%) while Republicans are closer on the issue (48%
support, 31% oppose, 21% are undecided). This represents a disconnect between party
leadership and their voters, as the Virginia Democratic Party opposes the measure,
while the state Republican Party supports it.

Key Issues: Virginia voters indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is the most
important issue for the next president to address (29%), followed by the economy (21%)
and health care (13%). Rounding out the top 5 issues for voters are racial inequality
(11%) and climate change (6%). “Voters have COVID-19 on their minds as they vote,
which is not good news for President Trump,” said Wason Center Academic Director
Quentin Kidd.


Field Dates: October 15-27, 2020
908 Likely Virginia Voters (MOE = +/- 3.4%)

Q1: Thinking about the election for president … if the election were held TODAY would you vote for
[RANDOMIZE: “Donald Trump the Republican” or “Joe Biden the Democrat”], or if you’ve already voted who did
you vote for?

[INTERVIEWER: IF RESPONDENT IS UNSURE (“DON’T KNOW”, “DEPENDS”, “NOT SURE”, ETC.)


PROBE ONCE WITH: Which one are you leaning toward right now?]

College
Rep

Ind

Dem

Males

Females

White

Black

18-44

45 +

Non-

College
All

Donald Trump 41 90 30 7 45 38 50 9 40 42 48 35
Joe Biden 53 8 28 93 46 60 46 90 52 54 46 60
Someone else (vol) 2 1 16 - 3 1 1 - 2 1 2 2
Undecided (vol) 3 1 24 - 5 1 2 1 5 2 4 2
Dk/Ref (vol) 1 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 1 1 - 1

Q2: Thinking about the election for U.S. Senate… if the election were held TODAY would you vote for
[RANDOMIZE: “Mark Warner the Democrat” or “Daniel Gade the Republican”], or if you’ve already voted who
did you vote for?

[INTERVIEWER: IF RESPONDENT IS UNSURE (“DON’T KNOW”, “DEPENDS”, “NOT SURE”, ETC.)


PROBE ONCE WITH: Which one are you leaning toward right now?]

College
Rep

Ind

Dem

Males

Females

White

Black

18-44

45 +

Non-

College
All

Mark Warner 57 10 51 95 51 63 48 85 55 58 51 62
Daniel Gade 37 86 24 2 39 34 48 3 35 38 41 33
Someone else (vol) - 1 1 - 1 - 1 - - 1 1 1
Undecided (vol) 5 2 21 3 8 2 3 10 9 2 8 2
Dk/Ref (vol) 1 1 3 - 1 - - 2 1 1 - 1

Q4: Do you support or oppose amending the Virginia constitution to establish a redistricting commission made up
equally of members of the General Assembly and citizens of the Commonwealth, to draw congressional and state
legislative district lines. The new legislative lines will be subsequently voted up or down by the General Assembly,
but cannot be amended?

[INTERVIEWER: IF RESPONDENT IS UNSURE (“DON’T KNOW”, “DEPENDS”, “NOT SURE”, ETC.)


PROBE ONCE WITH: Which one are you leaning toward right now?]
College
Rep

Ind

Dem

Males

Females

White

Black

18-44

45 +

Non-

College
All

Support 54 48 49 66 58 55 58 56 54 58 47 62
Oppose 24 31 36 18 27 22 24 25 22 25 27 23
Undecided (vol) 17 18 12 12 12 18 15 15 19 14 21 12
Dk/Ref (vol) 5 3 3 3 3 5 3 4 5 3 5 3


Q5: Which of the following issues do you consider the most important for the next President of the United States to
address? [RANDOMIZE]

The Economy 21
Health Care 13
The COVID-19 Pandemic 29
Climate Change 6
Immigration 4
Foreign Affairs 2
Taxes 3
Gun Policy 4
Racial Inequality 11
Abortion 5
Dk/ref (vol) 2


Demographics Full Survey n=908 PARTY: In politics today, do you generally consider
yourself to be a Republican, a Democrat, or an
EDUC: Could you tell me the highest level of school Independent?
or college you had the opportunity to complete:
Republican 29
High school or less 46 Democrat 32
College or more 52 Independent 36
No Preference (vol) 2
HISPANIC: Do you consider yourself to be Hispanic Other Party (vol)
or Latino? Dk/Ref (vol) 1

Yes 4 PARTYLN (of Independent, no preference, etc.)


No 96
Dk/ref (vol) Republican 30
Democrat 45
RACE: Do you consider yourself to be: Independent 25

White 68 AGE: (Recorded as exact year of birth)


Black or African American 21
Other 11 18-24 8
25-34 15
RELIG: What is your religious preference, are you 35-44 20
Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, another religion, 45-54 12
or no religion? 55 & older 45

Protestant 23 INCOME: And, just for statistical purposes, in which


Christian (non-specific) (vol) 22 of the following categories does your family income
Catholic 12 fall?
Jewish 2
Other 14 Under $25,000 5
None 23 $25-$49,999 15
Dk/ref (vol) 4 $50-$74,999 18
$75-$99,999 15
IDEOL: When it comes to your ideology, would you $100,000-$149,999 14
consider yourself to be a… Over $150,000 20
Dk/ref (vol) 13
Strong liberal 11
Liberal 12 CELL/LANDLINE
Moderate, leaning liberal 24
Moderate, leaning conservative 14 Cell 61
Conservative 17 Landline 39
Strong Conservative 13
Dk/ref (vol) 9 SEX: [INTERVIEWER CODE]

Male 48
Female 52


How the survey was conducted:

The results of this poll are based on 908 interviews of registered Virginia voters, who have voted in at least two
general elections in the last four years or are newly registered in the last 6 months, including 358 on landline and
550 on cell phone, conducted October 15-27, 2020. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding. The margin of
error for the whole survey is +/-3.4% at the 95% level of confidence. This means that if 50% of respondents
indicate a topline view on an issue, we can be 95% confident that the population’s view on that issue is
somewhere between 46.6% and 53.4%. Sub-samples have a higher margin of error. All error margins have been
adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, which is 1.12 in this survey. The design effect is a factor
representing the survey’s deviation from a simple random sample and takes into account decreases in precision due
to sample design and weighting procedures. In addition to sampling error, the other potential sources of error include
non-response, question wording, and interviewer error. The response rate (AAPOR RRI Standard Definition) for the
survey was 7%. Five callbacks were employed in the fielding process. Live calling was conducted by trained
interviewers at the Wason Center for Public Policy Survey Research Lab at Christopher Newport University. The
data reported here are weighted using an iterative weighting process on region, age, race, sex, and education to
reflect as closely as possible the population of Virginia’s 2020 electorate.

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