Roanoke College Poll: Clinton, Trump hold leads in Virginia primary elections

Cruz, Rubio in tight battle for second

Feb 26, 2016, 09:58 ET from The Roanoke College Poll

SALEM, Va., Feb. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Days before its primary, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders (50%-33%), and Donald Trump leads the Republican field (Trump 38%, Cruz 15%, Rubio 13%) in Virginia, according to The Roanoke College Poll. The poll interviewed 466 likely Republican voters and 415 likely Democratic voters in Virginia between February 16 and 24 with a margin of error of +4.5 percent for the Republican race and + 4.8 for the Democratic contest.

Donald Trump (38%) holds a commanding lead over Ted Cruz (15%) and Marco Rubio (13%), with John Kasich (8%) and Ben Carson (8%) trailing the field. Republicans are mostly divided between being merely dissatisfied with how the federal government is working (47%) and being angry (42%) about how the federal government is working. A significant minority (44%) also feel betrayed by the Republican Party, and more than half (53%) prefer a candidate outside the political establishment.

Those who feel betrayed by the party still favor Trump (41%), but they are the strongest group of Cruz supporters (24%). Rubio fares better among those who prefer a candidate with political experience (29%) and those who want a candidate who can win in November (23%). Still, Trump leads in every group except those who prefer a candidate with political experience.

While Hillary Clinton is far ahead of Bernie Sanders (50%-33%), there are some causes of concern for the Clinton campaign. There is a very large gender gap, with women preferring Clinton (57%-24%), but men favoring Sanders (44%-42%). And although Clinton does well with older voters, Sanders leads among those under 45 years old by a 48-37 percent margin. The Democrats also feature racial differences, with whites virtually split (Sanders 43%, Clinton 42%) and blacks strongly favoring Clinton (58%-24%).  

"Both Trump and Clinton appear very likely to win their respective primary elections in Virginia," said Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. "Trump is taking advantage of the Republican desire for an 'outsider,' while Clinton does well with the more Democrats who are satisfied with the federal government's performance. However, both have issues with some groups of voters which could be problematic for them in the future."      

More information and all toplines and crosstabs may be found here

SOURCE The Roanoke College Poll