In the first statewide survey of likely Virginia voters since the Sept. 27 presidential debate, Democrat Hillary Clinton has slightly increased her lead over Republican Donald Trump, according to a tracking survey released Monday October 3 by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Clinton now holds a 7-point advantage in Virginia (42-35 percent).
“Hillary Clinton’s debate performance has improved her position in Virginia slightly,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director of the Wason Center. “Most significant is perhaps her improved support among younger voters, a critical part of the Obama coalition.” The baseline for the tracking survey was the Wason Center poll released Sept. 26, in which Clinton led Trump 39-33 on the five-candidate ballot. The Wason Center will release four more tracking polls between now and Election Day, Nov. 8.
In the new survey, Millennial voters moved away from the Libertarian ticket and other third-party candidates and into Clinton’s camp. Among voters ages 18-34 Clinton has increased her support from 34 percent to 41 percent. “Following what was by most accounts a difficult first debate for Donald Trump, our survey also finds significant shifts in support in another key voting group: Independents,” said Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, Assistant Director of the Wason Center. “Although Trump had an 11-point lead among Independents in our September survey, Clinton now leads that group by 6 points.”
Clinton’s striking jump from 21 percent to 34 percent among Independents came partially from Trump, but even more at the expense of Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. Johnson’s support among Independents dropped 11 points, from 31 percent in September to 20 percent in this survey. The survey was conducted Sept. 27-30 among 892 likely Virginia voters, with an overall margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.