Six weeks before Virginia Democrats’ June 8 primary, nearly half of the Democratic voters surveyed (47%) back former governor Terry McAuliffe for the gubernatorial nomination, according to a survey released today by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University. With 27% of Democratic voters undecided, none of the other four candidates reach double-digit support: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (8%); Sen. Jennifer McClellan (6%); former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (5%); Del. Lee Carter (1%).
Seeking his party’s nomination to a third term, Attorney General Mark Herring leads Del. Jerrauld “Jay” Jones, 42% to 18%, with 34% undecided. However, Herring’s support has not changed and Jones has gained since the Wason Center’s poll in February, in which Herring led Jones, 42%-3%, with 50% undecided.
In the crowded contest for the party’s bid for lieutenant governor, almost two out of three Democratic voters (64%) say they are undecided, but Del. Sam Rasoul has emerged as the front runner with 12% support. Del. Elizabeth Guzman led the other 6 candidates with the support of 4% of Democratic voters, but she withdrew from the race while the survey was in the field. None of the remaining candidates received more than 2% support.
Overall enthusiasm among Democratic voters is fairly high, with 83% surveyed indicating they are very or somewhat enthusiastic to vote in the primary. “This gubernatorial field is the most diverse in the history of the Commonwealth, and that has drawn a great deal of interest in the race” said Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo.
McAuliffe is the best-known candidate for the party’s top nomination, with a favorable/unfavorable rating among Democratic voters of 56% to 14%, while 28% indicated no opinion. Fairfax follows with a closely divided favorable/unfavorable rating of 27% to 26%, with 45% indicating no opinion. Most voters say they have no opinion of McClellan (73%), Carrol Foy (78%) or Carter (86%). Among those who hold an opinion, however, McClellan has a 20% to 5% favorable/unfavorable rating and Carroll Foy has a 15% to 5% favorable/unfavorable.
The results of this survey are based on interviews of 806 Virginia registered voters who are likely Democratic primary voters, conducted April 11-29, 2021. The margin of error for the whole survey is 3.9%. The full report is attached and online at https://cnu.edu/wasoncenter/.