RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – In a new poll, Virginians were split when asked if they would support Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) or Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) in a hypothetical election to the US Senate in 2024.
The statewide poll, released Wednesday by the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, found that 41% of respondents would support Kaine and 39% would vote for Youngkin. Ten percent said they didn’t know or didn’t answer, 5% said they wouldn’t vote, and 5% said they would choose another candidate.
Despite Kaine’s slight advantage, the results were within the survey’s margin of error, which was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for the total sample and plus or minus 4.1 percentage points for the likely voters portion of the poll.
“Governor Youngkin has been building his national profile in recent weeks as he campaigns for Republican candidates across the country, and that could help him if he chooses to run for the Senate,” Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor in political science at the University of Mary Washington and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at UMW, said in a statement accompanying the poll.
Speculation about Youngkin’s presidential ambitions continued to grow with his campaign halts for Republican candidates across the country who raised his profile. While Youngkin’s moves suggest a possible presidential race, Farnsworth said the poll results indicate another path is on the table.
“While there has been some buzz lately about the governor being a potential presidential candidate, this poll suggests Youngkin has additional political opportunities here in Virginia,” he said.
Virginia governors cannot serve consecutive terms, a reality that would require Youngkin to leave office before his term ends in 2026 to pursue the presidency or a Senate seat.
So far, Youngkin said he was focused on the Commonwealth and had tried to distance himself from talks of a possible presidential bid. But he did not close the door and has not pledged to support former President Donald Trump should he run in 2024.
The poll shows an advantage for Kaine among female respondents (42%-36%) and Youngkin with an advantage among male respondents (42%-40). According to the survey, Kaine’s job approval rating was 36% and Youngkin’s was 45%.
Asked about the 2022 congressional midterms, 37% of respondents said they planned to vote for a Republican and 39% said they planned to vote for a Democratic candidate.
Forty-four percent said President Joe Biden would be a major factor in their decision on who to vote for and 46% said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturns the constitutional right to abortion.
According to the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington.