A Suffolk University poll of likely Virginia voters shows Democrat Ralph Northam leading Republican Ed Gillespie by four points in the gubernatorial contest, 47 percent to 43 percent. These figures include those supporting or leaning toward each candidate, and the results are within the poll’s statistical margin of error.

In a September poll, Northam and Gillespie were tied at 42 percent.

Libertarian Clifford Hyra is at 2 percent, and 6 percent are undecided with the general election for Virginia governor five days away.

“Though the share of undecided voters is now at only 6 percent, the pressure is on the candidates to woo the most malleable categories of undecided voters,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “One of these categories is independent voters, where the undecided count is 17 percent, nearly triple the statewide number.”

Confederate statues

As Virginia and the nation wrestle with how to deal with Confederate statues in public places, 57 percent of Virginia voters want them to remain in place, while 30 percent support their removal. These findings closely mirrored the September poll, which recorded 57 percent of likely voters wanting the statues to remain in place and 32 percent supporting removal.

Among independent voters, 63 percent want Confederate statues to remain, while 18 percent prefer their removal.

On the issue of offshore drilling for oil and gas, 45 percent of voters support drilling, while 38 percent oppose it. However, a breakdown of the data shows that independents hold a view contrary to the statewide numbers, with 43 percent of independents opposing offshore drilling and 39 percent supporting it.

Views on Trump

President Donald Trump has a 55 percent job-disapproval rating and 37 percent job approval, while his personal favorability is 55 percent unfavorable and 39 percent favorable. Among those Virginians who cast a ballot for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, 82 percent feel good about their vote; 6 percent regret their vote; and 12 percent weren’t sure.

Ratings for Kaine and McAuliffe

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine has a personal favorable rating of 45 percent favorable and 40 percent unfavorable. But when voters were asked if the 2016 Democratic vice-presidential nominee deserves to be reelected in 2018, likely voters were split, with 46 percent saying he should not and 45 percent that he should be reelected. This is consistent with the September findings, which showed 46 percent saying he did not deserve reelection, while 43 percent said he deserves to return to the Senate.

Outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe has a 40 percent favorable and 39 percent unfavorable rating. Forty-three percent disapprove of the job McAuliffe is doing as governor, while 41 percent approve. When Democratic respondents were asked if they thought McAuliffe should seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, more voters were now warm to the idea (41 percent yes, 29 percent no), than in September (34 percent yes, 44 percent no).

Methodology

The field of 500 likely Virginia voters was conducted Oct. 30 through Nov. 1 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very likely to vote in the November 2017 general election for governor. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu