Democrat Joe Biden has expanded his lead over President Donald Trump in Virginia, and U.S. Senator Mark Warner is comfortably ahead in his race for re-election, according to a new poll from Virginia Commonwealth University.
As Virginians begin early voting Friday for the Nov. 3 election, the statewide survey found Biden leading Trump by 53% to 39%. The telephone poll was conducted between Aug. 28 and Sept. 7 by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The previous VCU survey, in mid-July, showed Biden leading 50% to 39% statewide.
Warner, a Democrat seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate, leads Republican challenger Daniel Gade by 55% to 38%.
In Northern Virginia, Biden leads Trump by 59% to 32%. Trump has picked up some support in the region; in the July poll he was trailing 57% to 23%.
Elsewhere, Biden has large leads in south central Virginia (65%-22%) and the Tidewater region (56%-33%), while Trump has large leads over Biden in western Virginia (63%-36%) and the northwest region (58%-36%). Independents are breaking toward Biden by 8 percentage points (46%-38%), with 14% remaining undecided.
Statewide, women are more likely to prefer Biden over Trump by 22 percentage points (58%-36%) and men prefer Biden over Trump by a smaller margin, 5 points (47%-42%). This represents a shift for men, who were more likely to say they would vote for Trump in the July poll.
Seven in 10 Virginians surveyed said the selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as Biden's vice presidential running mate will not affect whether they vote for Biden. Sixteen percent said it would make them more likely to vote for Biden, while 13% say it will make them less likely.
“The VP choice by Biden doesn’t appear to have significant influence on any group. I think the Biden camp needs do more connecting, particularly with the minority communities,” said former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder in a news release from his eponymous school. “The anti-Trump vote will always be there. That’s why the Biden vote needs to be whetted.”
Virginians are split on whether mail-in votes will be accurately cast and counted. Half of respondents (50%) said they are very or somewhat confident that, across the country, mail-in votes for president will be accurately cast and counted, while 48% said they are not too or not at all confident. Republicans were most likely to be skeptical, with 67% saying they are not too or not at all confident, and 46% saying they are not at all confident in the process.
The survey of 693 likely voters has a margin of error of 6.2 percentage points.