NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- A newly released survey by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University shows that the best-known candidates lead a very unsettled 2017 Virginia gubernatorial contest.
“With most voters undecided in both parties, and last year’s political turbulence spilling over into Virginia’s election, anything could happen,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.
According to the poll, Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie (33%) leads his three GOP rivals, state Sen. Frank Wagner (9%), Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart (7%) and distillery owner Denver Riggleman (1%).
Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (26%) leads his opponent, former Congressman Tom Perriello (15%).
The Wason Center's annual issues survey also reveals a similar turbulence in voters' opinions:
- Voters support repealing the Affordable Care Act but they want it replaced simultaneously, and they want the replacement to include the popular Obamacare provisions that require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions and allow children to remain on their parent’s insurance until age 26.
- Voters support Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender workers, but they support the “bathroom bill” that would require people to use the bathroom or locker room corresponding with their sex at birth.
- Strong majorities support expanding wind and solar energy facilities in Virginia, but not coal mining or nuclear power, and especially not hydraulic fracking.
- With the General Assembly facing a revenue gap, voters say Transportation is the best target for budget cuts, but they would also accept a tax increase to avoid cutting the budget.
- On other issues, voters oppose banning abortions after 20 weeks; they would decriminalize marijuana possession; and they would crack down on drivers’ use of cell phones.