- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2016

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads her GOP rival Donald Trump by 7 points in Virginia, but Mr. Trump is eating into what had been a double-digit advantage for Mrs. Clinton and is consolidating more support among Republicans, according to a poll released Friday.

Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Trump by a 46 percent to 39 percent margin, according to the tracking survey released Friday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

But that was down from a 12-point lead Mrs. Clinton had held in last week’s survey, and she had led by 15 points two weeks ago.

“True to form for the past several statewide elections in Virginia, Republican voters appear to be coming home late, but coming home,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “That’s good news for Trump, and especially good news for the Republican candidates down-ballot.”

Libertarian Gary Johnson was at 5 percent, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein and independent candidate Evan McMullin were at 1 percent apiece. Mr. Johnson had hit 15 percent in a Wason Center survey released in late September.

Mrs. Clinton held a 10-point, 46 percent to 36 percent lead, among women, but that gender gap has dropped from 20 points.

Mrs. Clinton also got support from 87 percent of Democrats, compared to 84 percent of Republicans who supported Mr. Trump. That level of GOP support for the party’s nominee was up from 72 percent in the previous poll.

“Republican women who were holding back or even considering a vote for Clinton, appear to be making peace with Trump as the reality of a Clinton win sinks in,” said Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center. “That would explain the surge in women saying they will vote for Trump and the way the party loyalty gap has closed.”

President Obama carried Virginia twice, and Republicans haven’t won a major statewide race there since 2009. Sen. Tim Kaine, Mrs. Clinton’s running mate and a former governor of the state, was elected to his current post in 2012.

But in the 2013 governor’s race and the 2014 U.S. Senate race, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner won by smaller margins than public polling had showed heading into Election Day.

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