Professor Stephen Farnsworth of the University of Mary Washington said that both candidates need to reach undecided voters in the Tuesday night debate, and talking about President Trump is not an effective way to proceed. The best way to reach undecided voters, Farnsworth said, is by talking about community issues that relate to one’s daily life: expanding economic activity, improving schools, and reducing traffic congestion in the state’s urban areas.
Just ahead of the high-stakes debate in Northern Virginia this week, the University of Mary Washington is releasing a new poll that has Democrat Ralph Northam ahead of Republican Ed Gillespie — but not by much, the lead is within the margin of error.
Republican President Donald Trump is unpopular with the majority of Virginia adults amid a tight governor’s race that is considered an early referendum on his presidency, according to a recent University of Mary Washington poll.
A University of Mary Washington poll showed Northam at 44 percent to Gillespie’s 39 percent among likely voters, with 11 percent undecided and 3 percent supporting Hyra. The survey’s margin of error for likely voters was plus or minus 5.2 percentage points. Stephen J. Farnsworth, a political science professor at UMW and director of the university’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, said the poll results suggest neither candidate has broken out as President Donald Trump continues to take up most of the media spotlight.
“For a lot of voters, this debate may be the first time to see these candidates head to head,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington and director of its Center for Leadership and Media Studies, which released a poll Monday showing Mr. Northam leading Mr. Gillespie by 5 percentage points.