Biden, Warner Winning Virginia by Double Digits in Latest Poll

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at the Colonial Early Education Program at the Colwyck Training Center, Tuesday, July 21, 2020 in New Castle, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

By Brian Carlton
September 15, 2020

VCU’s Wilder School highlights multiple questions surrounding the election in their September poll.

RICHMOND-Joe Biden’s poll numbers keep climbing in Virginia. The same goes for Mark Warner. Both did well in the latest poll by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government, which released its results Tuesday. 

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, members of the school conducted a telephone survey with 804 Virginia residents. Out of that group, 53% said they chose Biden, while 39% went with Donald Trump. One percent went with a third party candidate and 6% chose not to answer. Both candidates claimed large leads in their traditional strongholds. Biden picked up 59% of Northern Virginia, while Trump collected 63% in the West. But there were a few surprises elsewhere. Southern and Central Virginia came out strong for Biden, 65% to 22%. The poll also showed Biden with a majority in the Tidewater region, 56% to 33%. Trump meanwhile had a majority in the Northwest region, including some areas around Washington D.C., 58% to 36%. 

Women went for Biden by more than 20 percentage points, 58% to 36%. The VCU poll saw a significant shift when it comes to men. The previous poll, released in July, reported that men preferred Trump 49% to 38%. In this one, men chose Biden 47% to 42%. So Biden saw a nine-point bump and Trump dropped seven. 

In the Senate race, Warner led Republican challenger Daniel Gade 55% to 38%. The biggest surprise was how strong Warner’s support was in the South Central and Tidewater regions. In South Central, Warner held 69% to Gade’s 27%. In the Tidewater, people preferred Warner 67% to 28%. Warner also had strong support in Northern Virginia, 57% to 34%. Nearly identical to the presidential race, Gade had the most support in the Northwest region, 55% to 37% and in the West, 56% to 39%. 

Are Biden’s Decisions Making a Difference? 

Beyond those two races, the poll also asked residents their opinion on several other questions. For example, 70% of those who answered the poll say Biden choosing Kamala Harris as his vice president had no impact on their vote. Sixteen percent said it made them more likely to vote for Biden and 13% said it makes them less likely.  

“The VP choice by Biden doesn’t appear to have significant influence on any group,” said former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, speaking on behalf of the school. “I think the Biden camp needs to do more connecting, particularly with minority communities. The anti-Trump vote will always be there. That’s why the Biden vote needs to be whetted.”

Residents are split, however, when it comes to election security. Fifty percent believed mail-in votes will be accurately cast and counted, while 48% are not confident.Republican voters were the most skeptical, with 67% saying they weren’t confident in mail-in security at all. Democrats went almost completely the opposite direction, with 68% saying they trusted the process. Basically the concern came from parts of the process that voters didn’t know much about. The mail-in process overall raised concerns, along with the drop-off boxes, which we’ve covered before

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