RICHMOND — Republican Donald Trump has bounced back slightly in Virginia, according to a new poll released Friday, but still trailed Democrat Hillary Clinton by double digits in one of the battleground states.
Clinton leads Trump by 12 points in a survey conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. The former secretary of state had a 15-point edge over the real estate mogul and reality TV star in a Wason poll released Sunday, its first since The Washington Post released a 2005 recording of Trump bragging about groping women.
In the latest poll, Clinton has a 45-to-33 percent advantage over Trump in the state, whose 13 electoral votes are a key prize in the race for the White House.
“While Trump appears to have recovered a little of the support he lost after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, his reach continues to be no higher than the mid-30s,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center. “That ceiling is far too low to win, especially as Clinton’s share continues to rise.”
The rebound varied by region and was non-existent in heavily Democratic Northern Virginia, where Clinton continued to gain. She leads there 57 percent to 21 percent.
Trump topped 50 percent for the first time in the state’s south and southwest regions, leading Clinton 51 to 30 percent in those rural and mountain areas.
“Clinton’s continued rise in Northern Virginia tells the larger story of political change in Virginia,” said Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center. “Bluer and bluer voters in suburban Washington, and their like in Richmond and Hampton Roads, far outweigh rural voters’ preference for Trump.”
Seventy-two percent of Republicans said they support Trump while 88 percent of Democrats back Clinton in the poll, which was conducted Oct. 16-19 among 834 likely Virginia voters, prior to the third presidential debate. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.
Independents moved toward Clinton, mostly at the expense of Libertarian Gary Johnson. Forty-four percent said they support her, up from 21 percent in a Wason Center poll in September.