By Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post
Democrat Jennifer T. Wexton holds a seven-point lead over Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) in a Northern Virginia district where President Trump’s low approval ratings could have a drag on the incumbent, a new poll shows.
The findings, from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, echo the results of a separate poll from Monmouth University released earlier this week.
The CNU poll found that Wexton, a state senator, leads 51 percent to 44 percent among likely voters. More Democrats, 75 percent, say they are “very enthusiastic” about voting in November, compared with Republicans who said the same, 59 percent, according to the poll.
Independent voters are breaking for Wexton, 55 percent to 37 percent, a key factor in a district where those voters will make the difference on Nov. 6.
Trump’s approval rating stands at 38 percent to 59 percent in the CNU poll and 43 percent to 52 percent in the Monmouth poll.
The CNU poll surveyed 794 voters on landlines and cellphones from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2. It has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.
The new poll comes two days after Monmouth University found that Wexton was six points ahead of Comstock but still within the margin of error. That poll found that the race was tightening and that Wexton’s unfavorable rating was up compared with her June rating.
Comstock issued a news release criticizing the findings because, she said, the campaign’s internal polls, which she has not released publicly, show she is in the lead.
Monmouth is ranked among the most accurate and transparent pollsters by the FiveThirtyEight website.
In the release, Comstock campaign manager Susan Falconer said pundits and polls underestimate the two-term congresswoman.
As they have in past elections in the district, outside groups are playing a significant role in the race on both sides.
House Majority PAC, a group with close ties to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), recently diverted nearly $1 million reserved for the 10th District to other races.
The group says it believes that Comstock’s vote for the tax bill helps Wexton because personal income tax cuts in the bill expire while corporate tax cuts do not.
On the Republican side, Congressional Leadership Fund, a group associated with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), has not committed to spend money in support of Comstock.
But the National Republican Congressional Committee made its largest reservation in the country for Comstock, who won the district by six percentage points in 2016 at the same time Trump lost it by 10 points.
The 10th District includes all of Loudoun County and parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties, as well as Clarke and Frederick counties to the west.