In Virginia’s gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is leading Republican contender Ed Gillespie by 17 points, according to the Quinnipiac University polling organization. While Gillespie polled at 36 percent, Northam received the support of 53 percent of likely voters in Virginia. Other polls show Northam with much narrower leads. According to a RealClearPolitics average of several polls, Northam leads Gillespie by 3.3 points. 

In a statement, Quinnipiac’s assistant director of polling, Peter A. Brown, declared, "In 2014, Republican Ed Gillespie came oh-so-close to upsetting Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, at least in part because 2014 was a Republican year and Gillespie benefited from the national pro-GOP mood. But with President Donald Trump's approval ratings in the dumpster in Virginia and in the nation, this year the shoe is on the other foot for Gillespie.” 

Brown said that the size of the Democrat’s lead is “impressive.” He said, "And history does not provide many examples of candidates who have come back from this large a deficit so close to the actual voting." The most recent Quinnipiac poll represents an increase from a 14-point lead Northam held in one of the university’s polls earlier this month. According to the recent poll, 72 percent of non-white voters back Northam, while 15 percent are for Gillespie. Among whites, the two are tied at 46 percent. Barack Obama stumped for Northam this month, while Vice President Mike Pence came out for Gillespie.

President Donald Trump lost Virginia in the 2016 election. The polls was conducted among 916 people by phone over Oct. 25-29. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Planned Parenthood vowed to spend $3 million to help elect Northam. The abortion provider is deploying its supporters to knock on 300,000 doors, send mailers to 400,000 homes, while also running digital and radio ads. The group is also supporting other Democrats, including lieutenant governor nominee Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark R. Herring.



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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