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Big League-Gravis Virginia Poll: Northam 48% v. Gillespie 43% in final stretch towards Nov. 7 Election Day

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Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam has kept his all-race-long lead over Republican Edward W. Gillespie as the two gubernatorial candidates sprint to the Nov. 7 finish line with Northam the choice of 48 percent of the voters compared to Gillespie’s 43 percent, according to the Big League-Gravis poll conducted Oct. 30 through Nov. 3 with 1,143 registered voters.

“The establishment pundits will make a bigger deal about this race then it is,” said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based company that executing the poll. The poll carries a 2.9 percent margin of error.

Libertarian Cliff Hydra is the choice of 3 percent of the voters with 6 percent of respondents undecided.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist,  is the choice of 83 percent of black voters and 38 percent of white voters, while Gillespie is the choice of 10 percent of black voters and 54 percent of white voters.

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Gillespie leads Northam with both Catholics, 52 percent v. 42 percent, and with Evangelical Christians, 73 percent v. 22 percent.

Fifty-one percent of men back Gillespie and 55 percent of women back Northam.

In the attorney general campaign, Attorney General Mark R. Herring leads GOP challenger John Adams with 47 percent to Adams’ 42 percent.

Kaplan said because the Virginia, New Jersey and New York City elections are held the year after a presidential election, there is the temptation to read greater meaning into results that are more often than not driven by local issues and circumstances.

Northam’s win will have no greater message regarding the future of President Donald J. Trump or his agenda, he said.

Thirty-seven percent of Virginia voters approve of the president’s job performance compared to 53 percent disapproving, he said.

“Many people still consider Virginia state a conservative state, but the state, or rather the commonwealth, has changed,” he said.

Former first lady Hillary R. Clinton won the state in 2016 by 6 percentage points and both its U.S. senators are Democrats, he said.

“Consider, too, that in an anti-establishment-era, the Republicans put up a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and lobbyist,” Kaplan said.

“The voters are smarter than politicians and their consultants give them credit,” he said. “The voters have picked up the conflicts that Gillespie is struggling with as he says he supports the president, but takes money from NeverTrumpers and is very careful to keep his distance from the president.”

The survey was conducted using interactive voice responses and an online panel of cell phones users. The results are weighted to match a proprietary voter turnout model.

Check out the crosstabs from the Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 Big League-Gravis Virginia poll: 

CROSSTABS FORMAT 1 v2

 

 

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2018 Midterms

Big League-Gravis Florida poll: Nelson leads Scott head-to-head 44% to 39% with 17% undecided

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In one of the 10 states won by Donald J. Trump in 2016, where a Democratic senator is up for reelection, Florida’s Sen. C. William Nelson II leads Republican Gov. Richard L. Scott with 44 percent of respondents to Scott’s 39 percent and 17 percent were undecided, according to the Big League-Gravis poll of 5,778 registered Florida voters conducted between Dec. 19 through Dec. 24.

“Back around the same point in 2013 in his reelection campaign, we had a poll that had Rick Scott losing to Charlie Crist, 46 percent to 36 percent, but he pulled it out,” said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based company that executed the poll. The poll carries a 1.3 percent margin of error.

Rep. Charles J. Crist Jr. (D.-Fla.) was then running as a newly former Republican, who Scott succeeded in the governor’s office. In the 2014 general election, Scott beat Crist with 48 percent to Crist’s 47 percent. Scott has not formally announced that he is running for Senate in 2018.

Kaplan said both Nelson and Scott have strong support from their own parties. “Nelson has the support of 78 percent of Democrats and Scott has the support of 74 percent of Republicans, but among Independents, Nelson has the real advantage with 45 percent of them supporting Nelson and 31 percent supporting the governor.”

Sen. Clarence William Nelson II (D.-Fla.) stopped to take a selfie with a group of Florida students visiting his D.C. office. (Nelson Senate office photo by Susie Perez-Quinn)

Because Democratic Senate candidates had such a successful 2012, of the 33 Senate seats up in 2018, the Democrats are defending 24 seats, in addition to the seats held by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.) and Sen. Angus S. King Jr. (I.-Maine), two Independents, who caucus with the Democrats. It is also important to note that not only are there 10 Democratic Senate seats from states won by Trump up in 2018, Maine makes it 11, if you count the state’s 2nd Congressional District won by the New York City developer.

Maine’s two districts award their electoral votes independent of the statewide total–and Trump collected more than 42,000 more votes than W. Mitt Romney garnered in 2012, and he lost the state to Hillary R. Clinton by less than 20,000 votes.

With the Democrats defending so many seats, Florida looks like a prime opportunity to for the GOP to pick up a seat. The Republicans now hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate and this cycle could be their last chance to reach 60 for another six years, because of their own gains in 2014 and holds 2016.

The Republicans have not had 60 or more seats, since the Senate election in 1908, when the GOP held 61 out of 92 seats. The last time the Democrats held 60 or more seats was in the Senate session that ran from 2009 to 2011, which was a temporary combination of 58 Democrats and two Independents. Under current Senate rules, 60 votes are required to end debate and force a vote on all non-budget-related legislation. This means that a minority of 41 senators can extend debate indefinitely, a parliamentary maneuver called the filibuster.

Among Florida women voters, Nelson has the edge over Scott with 45 percent compared Scott’s 35 percent and 20 percent of women are undecided. Among men, Nelson and Scott are tied at 43 percent with 14 percent of men undecided.

Broken down by ethnicity, Nelson has the support of 57 percent of African-Americans, 42 percent of Hispanics and 42 percent of whites. Scott has the support of 16 percent of African-Americans, 40 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of whites.

The Hispanic category is tricky in Florida as it includes both the Cubans, who tend to be more conservative and Republican and the Puerto Ricans, who tend to be more liberal and Democratic.

Forty-four percent of Florida Catholics favor Scott and 41 percent favor Nelson, while Scott has the support of 57 percent of Evangelicals and 26 percent of Jewish voters. Nelson is the choice of 62 percent of Jewish voters and 23 percent of Evangelical voters.

Forty-two percent of poll participants said they approve of Scott’s job performance as governor and 36 percent said they disapproved, but asked about how he did during the recent hurricane season, 70 percent approved of Scott’s performance and only 15 percent disapproved.

Pressed to approve or disapprove of Scott’s job dealing with nursing homes during Hurricane Irma, 44 percent approved and 30 disapproved with 25 percent uncertain.

The Senate race in Florida could be an interesting gauge of the president’s political strength going into the 2020 election cycle. Trump spends significant time at his home and club at Mar-a-Largo in Palm Beach, but his other properties in the state include, Trump National Golf Course in JupiterTrump International Golf Club in Palm Beach and Trump National Doral in Miami.

Trump won the state in 2016 and its 29 electoral votes with 454,439 more votes than the 2012 GOP nominee W. Mitt Romney and 380,130 more votes that President Barack Obama in that year.

President Donald J. Trump at his Dec. 9, 2017 rally in Pensacola, Florida. (Photo courtesy of Trump’s personal Facebook page)

Fifty-three percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of the president in the poll and 39 percent said they have a favorable opinion.

The survey was conducted using interactive voice responses and an online panel of cell phone users. The results were weighted to match a proprietary turnout model.

Read the complete poll here:
Big League-Gravis Dec. 19-Dec. 24 Florida poll

Read the poll’s crosstabs here:
Crosstabs for Big League-Gravis Dec. 19-Dec. 24 Florida poll

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