Written by Tom Pappert
Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) placed third in a Virginia presidential primary poll released on Thursday, while pollsters found the majority of voters favor former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Trump was also statistically tied with President Joe Biden, despite Biden carrying the commonwealth by 10 percentage points in 2020.
The Roanoke College poll, conducted between November 12 and November 20, found Trump to be the first choice of 51 percent of Virginia Republicans for the Republican candidate for president. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) placed in a distant, second place, with 14 percent of support.
Despite repeatedly insisting he does not intend to run for president in 2024, Youngkin was the first choice of 10 percent of Virginia Republicans, as was former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley Haley, who is an active candidate. All other candidates received single-digit levels of support.
In a general election between the current and former presidents, the pollsters reported that 44 percent of voters would choose Trump, and 48 percent would choose Biden. With a margin of error of plus or minus 4.31 percent, the Roanoke College poll suggests the men are statistically tied in Virginia.
Virginia radio and television host John Fredericks, who is the publisher of The Virginia Star, said Trump’s poll numbers are the best he has seen since the businessman’s entry into politics.
“I was Trump Chairman in Virginia in 2016 and 2020,” Fredericks told The Star. “No public poll in Virginia that I ever saw, over eight years, had us anywhere closer to the Democrats, whether it be Clinton or Biden, than upper double digits.”
Fredericks added, “This poll that shows Trump within 4 points of Biden, in my view, puts Virginia in play, and shows that Trump can win Virginia with an enormous early vote and southwest virginia vote turnout.”
He reiterated, “For me, Virginia is now in play.”
Additionally, Fredericks warned that the DeSantis campaign should be concerned with the polling and warned their candidate’s string of Virginia endorsements may not be enough to “move the needle” in the commonwealth.
“Trump’s broad support among Republicans should be shocking to the DeSantis campaign, who saw Virginia as a potential Super Tuesday victory,” Fredericks explained. “Trump not being particularly popular in Virginia, we [still] beat Rubio in 2016 [by] 36-33.”
Fredericks warned that the DeSantis campaign in Virginia has “collapsed despite some very high profile Virginia endorsements,” which he noted include U.S. Representative Bob Good (R-VA-05), Virginia Senate Majority Leader Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham), and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Snyder.
“These endorsements have not moved the needle, and the DeSantis campaign in Virginia is dead in the water.” Fredericks said, “It doesn’t bode particularly well for those who went out on a limb to back him early on.”
Asked about Youngkin being included in the Roanoke College poll, Fredericks said, “Mere eye candy.”