A new Quinnipiac University poll
finds Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is favored to remain in office after November's midterm elections. The same poll also shows that Hillary Clinton is pacing well in the state, should she run for president in 2016.
The poll numbers for Warner show voters think the Democrat should be re-elected by a 49-36 percent count. He sports a 55 percent job approval rating.
White House aide Ed Gillespie, a Republican who could run against Warner in the election, trails 46 percent to 31 percent in the poll. Libertarian Robert Sarvis earned 6 percent of the voters' support.
In the race for president, Clinton leads four potential Republican contenders. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie trails her 45 percent to 41 percent, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is behind 47 percent to 39 percent, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul trails 48 percent to 42 percent, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is behind 49 percent to 41 percent.
Historically a red state, Virginia has shifted in recent years. It voted for President Obama in the last two elections, and Democrats hold both Senate seats. Republicans still control the state's house representation, eight seats to three.
Urbanization has been the reason for the shift left. The majority of counties voted for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, but key counties in Northern Virginia — Loudoun, Fairfax, and several cities in the area not affiliated with a county — all voted for Obama.
Despite holding a lead over Christie, however, Clinton's advantage has shrunk since recent polls were conducted.
"Hillary Clinton's lead over New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie, top-seeded among Republicans, is only four points, smaller than in other recent Quinnipiac University surveys," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Whether that means the 'Bridge-gate' impact on Gov. Christie is fading in the rear-view mirror, only time will tell."
Despite how the state voted in 2008 and 2012, 52 percent of Virginia voters polled by Quinnipiac are not satisfied with the job Obama is doing in the Oval Office. Similarly, voters disapprove how he is handling the economy (55 percent to 41 percent) and foreign policy (55 percent to 40 percent).
Support for the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, is also lacking. The Quinnipiac numbers show that only 44 percent of voters are for it. Further, 45 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the law, as opposed to 31 percent who would be more likely.
"President Obama's support in Virginia, which he narrowly carried in his re-election, remains stuck in negative territory," Brown said. "His economy numbers have been in the Dumpster for some time, but nationally his foreign policy numbers have remained good. It would be reasonable to assume that the current crisis involving Russia and the Ukraine may well be responsible for the low foreign policy grade."
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