With only 12 days left until Election Day, the Schar School of Policy and Government at my alma mater (GMU) teamed up with the Washington Post to release a poll this morning for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. The results show state Senator Jennifer Wexton with a 56% to 43% lead over incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock, a 13 point margin which increases the lead Wexton had in the poll they released earlier this month.
Most of the polling that’s been released has shown Wexton with about a six point lead, so this poll shows a much larger margin of victory than most. That being said, the consistent message has been that this looks like a Democratic pickup if turnout is as expected. Only one poll suggested Comstock was winning, after all, and that only showed her with a one point lead even though it was commissioned by her campaign.
Since the overall results are exactly new information, it’s some of the other data gathered that makes this poll noteworthy. Barbara Comstock’s support for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, for instance, sparked some questions about sexual assault. This line of questioning came because Comstock has been friends with Kavanaugh since they worked together investigating President Bill Clinton (who the GOP ended up impeaching due to his lying about receiving oral sex) and refused to speak out after reports he sexually abused multiple women.
Here’s the related information gleamed from the poll:
- While 42% said it wouldn’t make a difference, 56% of likely voters said the Kavanaugh nomination made them more motivated to vote. Only 2% said it made them less motivated.
- By a 28 point margin (64% to 36%), likely voters said “women not being believed when reporting sexual assault” is a bigger problem than “men being unfairly accused of sexual assault.”
- Only 40% of likely voters believe “men who commit sexual assault in the US face serious consequences” at least half the time. 18% said it was “about half the time,” 20% said it was “most of the time,” and 2% said it was “nearly all the time.”
- 59% of likely voters, on the other hand, said most men who commit sexual assault don’t face serious consequences. 40% said it was “less than half the time” and 19% said it was “almost never.”
Since there’s been a plethora of reports saying a desire to express either support or opposition to Donald Trump is a major motivation for voters this year, it’s also worth examining why voters are voting for a certain candidate and their overall impression of the national parties. While I would have loved to see a breakdown on what policy issues are important to voters like we’ve seen in some other polls, here’s the relevant information from this poll:
- Only 38% of people voting for Barbara Comstock said they’re voting for her, while 44% say their vote is against Jennifer Wexton. 15% said both reasons were weighed equally.
- For people who were supporting Jennifer Wexton, 25% said their vote was for her and 42% said their vote was against Barbara Comstock. 30% said both reasons were weighed equally.
- The Democratic Party has a 52% favorable rating among likely voters while 48% hold an unfavorable view. That’s a net positive rating of four points.
- The Republican Party has a 40% favorable rating among likely voters while 60% hold an unfavorable view. That’s a net negative rating of twenty points.
The favorable/unfavorable ratings for the political parties is interesting because both candidates are polling higher than their respective party’s favorable rating. Wexton is polling four points higher than the Democratic Party’s favorable rating while Comstock is polling three points higher than the Republican Party’s favorable rating.
While looking at the motivation for people to get out to the polls, it’s also worth noting how strong the opposition truly is to certain parties. While only 37% of voters “strongly” oppose the Democratic Party, 44% “strongly” oppose the Republican Party. This suggests someone opposing the Republican Party would be a little more motivated to get out to the polls on November 6.
Since polls can only show where the electorate stands at a moment in time, Wexton and her supporters obviously can’t let up over the next 12 days. That being said, this poll is definitely good news for folks in the 10th District like me who want to be represented by someone who will fight for things like affordable healthcare, commonsense gun reform, and equality for all.