McAuliffe, Herring hold leads in Virginia primary poll

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring are holding comfortable leads ahead of the commonwealth’s Democratic primary Tuesday.

According to the Roanoke College poll, each has 49% support from likely voters.

“To the surprise of few, McAuliffe and Herring appear headed for victory on Tuesday,” said Harry Wilson, senior political analyst of the Roanoke College Poll, in a news release.

“The race for lieutenant governor is there for the taking, with a large percentage of the electorate undecided on their decision. It is also clear that the Democratic primary electorate in Virginia is well-educated, upper-income and very liberal, but McAuliffe, arguably not the most far-left candidate, appears set to win the election.”

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Former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy trails McAuliffe with 11%; Sen. Jennifer McClellan has 9%; Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has 5% and Del. Lee Carter has 1%.

In the race for attorney general, Del. Jay Jones had 20% of respondents planning to vote for him.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Del. Hala Ayala leads Del. Sam Rasoul 16% to 11%, with five other candidates trailing and 45% still undecided.

According to the poll, Ayala is faring better in Tidewater and Northern Virginia; Rasoul is doing well in Southwest Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.

Issues most often mentioned by voters include the economy (18%), the COVID-19 pandemic (14%), education (8%), health care (8%), economic inequality (7%), race relations (6%), climate change (6%) and gun control (5%).

The Roanoke poll interviewed 637 likely Democratic voters between May 24 and June 1, with a 3.9-point margin of error.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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