A poll from Roanoke College would have you believe President Donald Trump and U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Gade are in trouble in Virginia’s November election.
The chairman of the Virginia Trump delegation refutes the findings.
The poll is available here. It was conducted by the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College.
Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 14 percentage points (53%-39%) in Virginia according to The Roanoke College Poll. Only 5% said they were undecided about their vote, and 3% percent said they would vote for another candidate. Almost 90% of those who support either candidate are very certain of their vote intention. The lead was 12 points in the May Roanoke College Poll. U.S. Senator Mark Warner leads Daniel Gade, his Republican opponent (55%-34%). The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research interviewed 566 likely Virginia voters between August 9 and August 22 and has a margin of error of +4.1%. More than 9 out of 10 (94%) said they care a great deal who wins the presidential election in November, and 97% said it was very likely they would vote.
“We aren’t paying attention to outside polls,” Gade replied to The Virginia Star when asked about the poll’s findings. “Since I’ve been running to serve Virginians, we have seen unprecedented momentum in our campaign,” he added. “We are confident Virginians will pick a career servant over a bought and paid for career politician in November.”
John Fredericks, publisher of The Star and chairman of the Trump Virginia Delegation, called out the poll.
“It’s another fake, phony poll done by another liberal college with no root in reality; it’s simply designed to drive a false narrative that Trump is way behind and his workers and voters should make no phone calls and stay at home,” Fredericks said.
The poll was done between August 9-22. A total of 566 likely voters in Virginia were interviewed. Residents were called randomly. The error level is 4.1 percent plus or minus.
“The data were statistically weighted for region, gender, race and age. Weighting was done to match the 2016 Presidential election exit poll in Virginia. The margin of error was not adjusted for design effects due to weighting,” the poll announcement said.
The poll’s director, Dr. Harry L. Wilson, discussed the methodology with The Star. This was a statewide poll, so that weights for any regional differences, he said.
Regarding the Senate race, Wilson said, Gade has been hurt because he is not well known. Warner is up by 21 points, while two-thirds said they do not know enough about Gade to form an opinion.
The poll’s response rate depends on how you compute it, Wilson said. Many people do not answer their phones these days. Going by known households of those who do not complete the interview (such as not answering the phone), the response rate is 9 to 12 percent, which is a national standard. Going by those who answer the phone, it is higher, but he did not say what that rate was.
Those who self-identified as Democrat were 41 percent; Republicans were 33 percent; independent were 15 percent, Wilson said.
Those who said they were independent or other were asked if they leaned toward a party — the result was 51 percent Democrat and 42 percent Republican, Wilson said.
Responding to questions that the poll found more Democrats than Republicans, Wilson said, “I say ‘Of course, because more Democrats voted in 2016” and that probably will carry over in 2020.
Trump’s showing has not really changed from 2016 within the margin of error, Wilson said. Only 5 percent said they are undecided, and the poll was taken before the party conventions were over.
“There’s no swing voters out there,” Wilson said.
Wilson said, however, that both Trump and Biden need to make sure their voters mobilize.
Fredericks said he agrees that Trump needs to mobilize his voters, but he totally disagreed about the president’s chances in Virginia.
“I went through the same thing in 2016,” Fredericks said. “Trump was down; he couldn’t win” they said.
Trump pulled within 5 points in 2016 and Democrats had to scramble, Fredericks said. Trump as well as independent Evan McMullin and the Libertarian candidate combined pulled 49 percent.
“We’re in better shape today than we were in 2016,” Fredericks said. “Our vote total in Virginia has grown, not shrunk. We have registered tens of thousands of new voters in southwest Virginia, and they’re going to come out in massive numbers for Trump.”
Biden’s vote total is stagnant, Fredericks said.
“We’re knocking on thousands of doors, and they’re hiding behind Hazmat suits locked up like their candidate in their basement,” Fredericks said.
Virginia will be decided within 2 points, Fredericks said, and it will not be called until midnight.
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John Fredericks is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Virginia Star.
He is also a Trump 2020 delegate and the chairman of the Trump Virginia Delegation.