Tim Kaine Continues To Crush Corey Stewart In The Polls
Senator Tim Kaine continues to maintain a huge lead over Corey Stewart in the Virginia Senate Race.
Back in June, Virginia Republicans nominated Corey Stewart, the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County, to be their nominee to face off against Tim Kaine in this year’s Senate race in the Old Dominion. Stewart had previously run for the GOP nomination for Governor last year and lost in a close race to Ed Gillispie, who ultimately went on to lose to Governor Ralph Northam in what was an exceedingly bad year for the Virginia GOP. Much as he did during the campaign for Governor, Stewart based his primary campaign on open appeals to the Trumpian wing of the Republican Party as well as those supporting the preservation of monuments to the Confederacy located throughout the state. While this appeal does appear to resonate with voters in rural and more conservative parts of the state, it is most definitely a turnoff for voters in the most populous areas of the state. Because of this, many Virginia Republicans quickly distanced themselves from Stewart and his campaign and it quickly became apparent in the polls that Stewart was going to be an albatross around the necks of the GOP that will impact not just the Senate race but also races for Congress throughout the Commonwealth.
The latest example of that can be seen in a new poll from Mary Washington University which gives Senator Kaine a 19 point advantage over his Republican opponent:
With less than two months remaining before the Nov. 6 elections, Sen. Tim Kaine (D) appears to be on his way to an easy victory in his reelection race against Republican Corey A. Stewart in Virginia.
A poll released Tuesday by the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg shows Kaine leading Stewart 49 percent to 30 percent among all respondents. Libertarian candidate Matt Waters received 5 percent.
Although 73 percent of Republican respondents said they’d vote for Stewart, 15 percent of Republicans favored Kaine — a reflection of the deep divisions among Virginia Republicans over Stewart, who models himself after President Trump and likes to say, “I was Trump before Trump was Trump.”
Among Democrats, 90 percent supported Kaine.
A third of those surveyed said their feelings toward Trump would be a major factor in how they vote.
“By September, successful candidates usually have their partisans locked down,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington who directs the school’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies. “That so many Republicans favor Kaine at this point in the election is terrible news for Corey Stewart.”
But, Farnsworth cautioned, “any statewide election in ‘purple’ Virginia is likely to tighten up as the contest draws nearer.”
The telephone survey of 801 respondents in early September mirrors earlier statewide polls showing Kaine far ahead of Stewart, whose Senate campaign has been marred by controversy about questionable ties to white supremacists.
In the University of Mary Washington poll, Stewart trailed Kaine badly in voter-heavy areas of the state.
In Northern Virginia, where Stewart is chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Kaine led by 42 points. In the Tidewater region, Kaine was ahead by 22 points. Stewart performed best in the less-populated rural portions of western Virginia, where he led Kaine by 11 points.
Among voters surveyed, there was a significant gender gap. Women backed Kaine by a margin of 52 percent to 27 percent while men supported Stewart 55 percent to 47 percent.
Immigration was ranked by 39 percent of Stewart supporters as the most important problem facing the country, while 18 percent said it was the economy and jobs. Meanwhile, 29 percent of Kaine supporters named health care as the most important issue,while 18 percent said it was the economy and jobs.
Among Likely Voters, Kaine still holds a double-digit lead with 52% of respondents saying they’d vote for Kaine and 36% saying they’d vote f0r Stewart, giving Kaine a sixteen-point advantage. The last time we looked at this race, a poll from Virginia Commonwealth University put Kaine 23 points ahead of Stewart. In the May VCU poll, for example, which was taken before the Stewart had won the Republican primary that was held in June, Kaine led Stewart by 11 points. In the June poll taken in the wake of the primary, Kaine’s lead expanded to 18 points. And now, the same poll shows the incumbent Senator leading by 23 points. The only other notable poll that has been taken since the primary, a Quinnipiac poll from June, showed Kaine with an eleven point lead. While it’s probably true that many Virginians are not paying much attention to this race at the moment, these poll numbers clearly seem to show that voters are rejecting Stewart as they come to know him. Whether that will change remains to be seen but it is difficult to see how Stewart can make up this kind of difference in the just about three months left to go between now and Election Day. Meanwhile, other polling that has been conducted since then has shown Kaine largely holding on to this lead. As a result of this, all of the analysts who have made a prediction about this race continue to classify it as either Safe, Solid, or Likely Democratic. Finally, the RealClearPolitics average for the race gives Kaine (51.5%) an 18.5 point average lead over Stewart (33.0%). Based on this, it seems clear that Senator Kaine is headed for an easy win in November.
Beyond the Senate race, though Stewart’s candidacy has Virginia Republicans worried due to the impact it seems likely to have on the down-ballot race for Congress. Generally speaking, the most vulnerable Republican Member of Congress is most likely Barbara Comstock, who has represented the Tenth Congressional District since winning the election in 2014 to succeed Frank Wolf, who had held the seat since first being elected in 1980. Comstock’s District comprises parts of Northern Virginia, the most populated section of the state and an area that has proved pivotal in most recent statewide elections. It also happens to be an area that has been trending purple in recent years, requiring Comstock to thread the needle between being a relatively center-right Republican and staying in tune with her district. Even though she’s succeeded in that effort in the past, Stewart’s presence at the top of the ticket could pose problems for her in November. In addition to Comstock, other potentially vulnerable Members of Congress in the Commonwealth of Virginia include Scott Taylor, who has represented the Second Congressional District since being elected in 2016 and now finds himself under scrutiny related to efforts to get a third-party candidate on the ballot in his district, Dave Brat in the Seventh Congressional District, who famously defeated Eric Cantor back in 2014, Thomas Garrett in the Fifth Congressional District, and the open seat in the Sixth Congressional Districtcreated by the retirement of long-serving Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who currently serves as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. While it’s unlikely that the Virginia GOP will lose all of these seats, if Stewart’s presence on the ballot, combined with the Trump effect, makes them more vulnerable, then that is going to cause problems for the GOP in Virginia and nationwide.