‘Trump effect’ and Confederate statues likely key issues in governor race

From left to right: Ed Gillespie, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — New polling from Christopher Newport University shows a possible key weakness for Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates.

The survey data from CNU’s Wason Center for Public Policy shows Donald Trump’s low popularity with the state’s voters poses a risk for Republican Ed Gillespie. Meanwhile, CNU says Democrat Ralph Northam could be vulnerable on the issue of confederate statues and monuments.

The new polls numbers show the president’s approval rating among likely Virginia voters is at 35 percent. Voters for Northam have 96 percent disapproving rating of Trump’s performance.

READ: Full Survey Results from CNU

More than three-quarters of Gillespie’s supporters approve of the job Trump has done. Over 70 percent of Gillespie voters say Trump is not a factor in their choice.

Nearly four in 10 voters say Trump is a factor in their choice for next governor of Virginia — with 28 percent saying he is a major factor.

Northam leads Gillespie by 6 points in latest CNU poll

“Gillespie appears to have a Donald Trump problem, but Northam may have a Robert E. Lee problem,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.

CNU says 54 percent of likely voters polled said they oppose removing Confederate monuments from public spaces.

Northam prefers the monuments be moved to museums, believing the decision should be made by local governments. Gillespie, meanwhile, supports keeping monuments in place.

Over 62 percent of Northam voters and Democrats support removing the monuments while 26 percent say they oppose it.