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Polls Show Gubernatorial Candidates in Tight Race Ahead of Final Debate

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Ralph Northam  (FILE IMAGE) Ralph Northam (FILE IMAGE)
Ed Gillespie (FILE IMAGE) Ed Gillespie (FILE IMAGE)
Northam and Gillespie debating Northam and Gillespie debating
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVIR) -

We are less than a month away from voting for Virginia's next governor and polls across the state are showing it's a tight race.

According to the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy, Democratic Candidate Ralph Northam has a seven percent lead over Republican Ed Gillespie.

Political analysts at the University of Virginia Center for Politics say President Donald Trump's approval ratings may play a role over who wins the state election in November.

"The president is an important part in what is happening in this election cycle,” says Geoff Skelley of the UVA Center for Politics. “If he's a little bit more popular by Election Day, that's probably good for Gillespie. And if he's perhaps a little more unpopular, that'll probably be good for Northam."

The third and final televised debate between the two candidates will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, October 9, at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

NBC29 will have the coverage updates for you at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

10/09/2017 Release from the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy:

NEWPORT NEWS -- Democrat Ralph Northam’s lead over Republican Ed Gillespie in the contest to be Virginia’s next governor has increased slightly, according to a tracking poll released today by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

Northam, now lieutenant governor, is the choice of 49 percent of the likely voters surveyed, while former Republican National Committee Chair Gillespie is the choice of 42 percent. Libertarian Cliff Hyra polled at 3 percent, with 6 percent undecided. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent.

In the Wason Center’s benchmark gubernatorial survey, released September 25, Northam led Gillespie, 47% to 41%. Hyra polled at 4 percent in that survey, with 8 percent undecided.

“The movement we see in this tracking poll runs in the Democrats’ favor, and all three continue to hold their advantage,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.

In the other statewide races, the leads of both Democrats grew, compared with the September 25 results, as the Republican candidates polled lower than in the benchmark poll.

Democrat Justin Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor, leads Republican state Senator Jill Vogel in the lieutenant governor’s race, 48 percent to 40 percent, compared with 46 percent to 42 percent in the benchmark poll.

In the campaign for attorney general, Democratic incumbent Mark Herring leads former federal prosecutor John Adams, 51 percent to 40 percent, compared with 47 percent to 42 percent in the benchmark poll.

On issues, 33 percent of Gillespie voters said illegal immigration was an important problem where they live, while 6 percent of Northam voters held that view. Very strong majorities of both Gillespie voters and Northam voters said crime in general and gang-related crime in particular were not problems where they live.

“Gillespie's focus on crime and immigration appear to be attempts to appeal to his base, specifically those Republicans who voted for his primary opponent,” said Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center.