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CNU poll: Northam leads Gillespie ahead of Tuesday election

Northam's lead is demographically and regionally broad, poll finds

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A new poll from Christopher Newport University shows Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the lead in the race for governor. 

As Virginia voters prepare to choose their next governor on Tuesday, Northam leads former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie, 51 percent to 45 percent, dropping one point to a 6-point lead in the final tracking survey of likely voters by the Wason Center for Public Policy at CNU. Libertarian Cliff Hyra takes 2 percent of the vote, with 2 percent undecided.

Allocating the undecided voters according to their historical pattern in Wason Center surveys of Virginia statewide elections indicates a Northam victory on Election Day, 51.3 percent to 46.8 percent.

Northam holds significant leads among women, black voters, younger voters, voters with incomes below $50,000, and in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Gillespie leads among white voters and men, but the candidates are statistically tied among voters 45 and older and voters in Southwest-Southside.

Likely voters are firmly in their partisan and ideological corners, with Northam getting 98 percent of Democratic and 91 percent of liberal votes and Gillespie taking 95 percent of Republican and 86 percent of conservative votes. 

Down-ticket, the Democratic candidates continue to lead their Republican rivals, according to the poll. In the race for lieutenant governor, Democrat Justin Fairfax leads Republican state Sen. Jill Vogel, 50 percent to 45 percent. Seeking a second term as attorney general, incumbent Democrat Mark Herring leads John Adams, 49 percent to 45 percent.

The Wason Center surveyed 839 likely Virginia voters, Oct. 29-Nov. 4. The overall margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent.