A little more than two weeks before Election Day, one of Virginia’s most closely watched races is in a deadlock.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria and Republican challenger Jen Kiggans are tied among likely voters at 45%, with 8% undecided in the 2nd Congressional District race, according to a poll released Friday by Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership.
The university polled 820 people from Oct. 12-18. Of those, Democrats and Republicans were split 30% to 30%. Another 35% said they were independent voters, and the remaining 5% said they had no preference or support an unlisted party.
Polling shows the results will likely be split along party lines, but Luria edged Kiggans with the independent vote (46% to 43%). With early voting underway, 12% of those polled reported they already cast their ballots, giving Luria the lead (56% to 29%).
Top issues overall for voters polled are inflation and the economy (39%), abortion (17%) and threats to democracy (14%).
Likely Republican voters reported they were most concerned about inflation and the economy (61%), followed by abortion (9%), and a three-way tie for immigration, crime and threats to democracy — all at 6%. Top issues among Democrats include abortion (31%), threats to democracy (23%) and inflation and the economy (16%). A majority of Independents say inflation and the economy (40%) are top concerns, followed by threats to democracy (14%) and abortion (13%).
Redrawn boundaries make the 2nd District — already a battleground — Virginia’s most competitive. Statewide election results from 2016-20 show the 2nd District favors Democrats by 49.6% to 48.4%. While most of the district’s voters are still from Virginia Beach, the boundaries no longer include voters from Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson and Williamsburg.
Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, Research Director of the Wason Center, said the 2nd Congressional District race is typically “highly competitive” and is known to switch back and forth between the major parties.
“If this were a typical midterm election year, this district would likely favor the Republican candidate, especially given an unpopular sitting Democratic president and high inflation. Abortion and concern over threats to democracy appear to have energized Democrats and bolstered support for incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria,” Bromley-Trujillo said.
Luria, a two-term incumbent, and Kiggans recently faced off in a heated debate at the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront about abortion, border security and election integrity, and again during a candidate forum Oct. 17 in Smithfield. A WTKR televised debate is set for Tuesday.
Election Day is Nov. 8; early voting is underway.
Caitlyn Burchett, firstname.lastname@example.org