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For Many, NJ/VA Elections Are A Referendum on Trump

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

For many Democrats and most talking heads, today's gubernatorial contests in New Jersey and Virginia are referenda on President Trump, but what do the numbers say?

Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online surveys over the last several days show:

-- In New Jersey where Democrat Phil Murphy has a wide lead over Republican Kim Guadagno, 32% of likely voters say they are more likely to vote this year because Trump is in the White House. Among these voters, Murphy has a 52% to 39% advantage. But outgoing Republican Governor Chris Christie appears to be a bigger factor in the race.

-- In Virginia where Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam are dead even, 39% of likely voters are more likely to vote in this contest because of the president. Among these voters, Northam has a hefty 23-point lead - 58% to 35%.

-- Among all likely voters nationwide, 37% view today's gubernatorial contests as more a referendum on Trump than about local issues. Thirty percent (30%) say the races are more about local issues, but one-in-three voters (34%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Interestingly, Republicans (43%) are more likely than Democrats (36%) and voters not affiliated with either major political party (31%) to regard today’s elections as a referendum on Trump.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 30-31, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The president earned a monthly job approval of 43% nationwide in October, comparable to voter attitudes in Virginia but higher approval than he earns among New Jersey voters. Even Republicans don't see Trump as a major asset on the campaign trail, but Democrats have lost all six contested special congressional elections this year in which they’ve made Trump the focal point.

Men are more likely than women to think today’s gubernatorial contests are a referendum on Trump. Women are far more likely to be undecided.

Black and other minority voters are more likely than whites to see today’s state elections as referenda on the president.

Voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing as president are closely divided over what is driving this year’s state elections. But 38% who Strongly Disapprove of the job he is doing think the elections are a referendum on his presidency, while 24% think they’re more about local issues; another 38% are undecided.

Forty-five percent (45%) of all voters believe Trump, elected as a Republican, governs more like a third-party president.

Two prominent Republican senators who have decided not to seek reelection have been increasingly vocal in their criticism of Trump in recent days. But most GOP voters want their party to follow Trump, not Senate Republicans.

Just after the 2016 presidential election, 48% of voters thought the election results were more a vote against Hillary Clinton than a vote for Trump. Thirty-five percent (35%) said they were more a vote for Trump.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.
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