Roanoke College Poll: Warner maintains lead over Gillespie in Senate race

Clinton keeps edge over possible 2016 Republican rivals; Obama approval down

Jul 23, 2014, 00:00 ET from Roanoke College

SALEM, Va., July 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner holds a 25-point lead over Republican Ed Gillespie (47%-22%), according to the Roanoke College Poll. Libertarian Robert Sarvis polled at 5 percent. In the generic Congressional ballot, Democrats hold an insignificant lead over Republicans (38%-36%). In an early look at possible 2016 Presidential match-ups, Hillary Clinton holds significant leads over Republicans Chris Christie (44%-34%), Rand Paul (47%-37%) and Paul Ryan (47%-38%). The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 566 registered voters in Virginia between July 14 and July 19 and has a margin of error of +4.2 percent.

For the first time, more than half of the respondents (53%) disapprove of President Obama's job performance; his unfavorable rating has increased to 50 percent. The 10-point margin of unfavorable over favorable and 16-point spread of disapprove and approve are the largest seen in the Roanoke College Poll. Congressional approval remains abysmally low at 7 percent.

Mark Warner's favorable ratings (56%) topped the list of elected officials followed by Senator Tim Kaine (42%), and President Obama (40%). Robert Sarvis is largely unknown, with 81 percent not knowing enough about him to have an opinion. Ed Gillespie's numbers (75% don't know enough about him to have an opinion) have not moved since January.

Virginians are more pessimistic regarding the state of the country than at any point since 2012. Only 21 percent think the country is headed in the right direction, while 68 percent said it is on the wrong track.

"Gillespie needs to begin to introduce himself to Virginia voters. Winning the nomination did not lower the percentage who essentially do not know who he is," said Dr. Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. "Warner's favorable rating makes him an extremely formidable opponent. Gillespie needs a lot of money and positive name recognition to even begin to compete. Surely, his numbers will improve, but he needs them to begin to move soon."

"The decline in Obama's numbers suggest that his influence in the Commonwealth is waning. Hillary Clinton still performs well in potential 2016 match-ups, but two years is an eternity in politics."

For full results and information, visit

SOURCE Roanoke College