Wason Poll: Brat, Spanberger Statistically Tied in 7th Congressional District

Likely voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District favor Democratic nominee Abigail Spanberger over Republican incumbent Dave Brat by 46-45 percent, according to Monday’s poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

Abigail Spanberger (D): 46 percent
Dave Brat (R): 45 percent
Joseph Walton (L): 4 percent
Undecided: 3 percent
Margin for error: +/- 4.2 percent

However, among very enthusiastic voters who definitely plan to vote, Wason found that Spanberger increased her lead 48 percent to Brat’s 45 percent although it is still within the margin of error.

Abigail Spanberger (D): 48 percent
Dave Brat (R): 45 percent
Joseph Walton (L): 3 percent
Undecided: 3 percent
Margin of error: +/- 4.4 percent

“The fact that a district like the 7th is competitive is strong evidence that 2018 should produce a strong midterm effect that benefits Democrats,” said Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center. “This district has a significant structural advantage for Republicans. But that advantage can be overcome with strong turnout in the Richmond suburbs. Democratic turnout will determine which candidate prevails on Election Day.”

Wason noted the a 16-point “enthusiasm gap” with 78 percent of Democrats very enthusiastic about voting versus 62 percent of Republicans.

Democrats very enthusiastic: 78 percent
Republicans very enthusiastic: 62 percent

The question of President Donald Trump’s job performance found 51 percent disapprove, 47 percent approve. Of those, 43 percent strongly disapprove while 30 percent strongly approve.

Disapprove of Trump’s job performance: 51 percent
Approve of Trump’s job performance: 47 percent

Strongly disapprove: 43 percent
Strongly approve: 30 percent

While Republican Brat came on strong four years ago, his failure to unite the district or Republicans throughout the Commonwealth, together with an energetic Democratic presence — especially the women — since Trump won the White House, have this as a bona fide horse race in a traditionally Republican district.

Dig into the poll here.

Wason’s methodology:

The results of this poll are based on 871 interviews of registered voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District who have voted in at least two of the last four elections or who were new voters to Virginia in 2017, including 293 on landline and 576 on cell phone, conducted October 18-27, 2018. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding.

The margin of error for the whole survey (Model 1, n=871) is +/- 4.2 at the 95% level of confidence. This means that if 50% of respondents indicate a topline view on an issue, we can be 95% confident that the population’s view on that issue is somewhere between 45.8% and 54.2%. The margin of error for the more restrictive model (Model 2, n=790) is +/- 4.4 at the 95% level of confidence.

The margin of error is higher for subgroups within cross-tables. All error margins have been adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, which is 1.6 in this survey. The design effect is a factor representing the survey’s deviation from a simple random sample, and takes into account decreases in precision due to sample design and weighting procedures. Sub samples have a higher margin of error.

In addition to sampling error, the other potential sources of error include non-response, question wording, and interviewer error. The response rate (AAPOR RRI Standard Definition) for the survey was 16%. Five callbacks were employed in the fielding process. Live calling was conducted by trained interviewers at the Wason Center for Public Policy Survey Research Lab at Christopher Newport University.

In addition to the quotas imposed on the sample, the data reported here are weighted using an iterative weighting process on sex, age, race, and education to reflect as closely as possible the population of likely voters in the 7th Congressional District of Virginia.

More updates are planned from Wason before Election Day on November 6.