Not so long ago, Donald Trump may have thought he could bring Virginia back into the Republican fold. President Obama won Virginia in both 2008 and 2012, but Republicans had carried the state in the 10 national elections before that.
However, in another sign of the billionaire businessman’s souring political fortunes, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading Trump by 14 points -- 52 percent to 38 percent – among registered Virginia voters, and by eight points among likely voters, 51 percent to 43 percent.
Clinton’s lead over Trump drops to only seven percentage points when the third party candidacies of Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are factored in. But with Clinton teamed up Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, the former secretary of state should have a lock on Virginia in the fall election.
With the exception of the highly rural and conservative southwestern part of the state, Clinton leads Trump in all other regions, from the heavily populated Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., to the exurbs and the Richmond-Tidewater areas of the state.
While neither Clinton nor Trump are well liked or trusted by voters, some 65 percent of registered Virginia voters have a decidedly unfavorable view of Trump, compared to 54 percent for Clinton.
Trump’s recent attack on the Gold Star family of a fallen Army veteran and his cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin probably didn’t go down too well with the many Virginians who are highly patriotic and pro-military.
The state’s nearly 20 percent black population and substantial immigrant neighborhoods should be highly hostile to Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-minority message. The Washington Post said in its poll analysis that with Virginia’s changing demographics, especially in the fast-growing suburbs around Washington, “the state may not even be competitive for Trump.”
If that proves to be true and Virginia and its 13 electoral votes go to Clinton and Kaine, then Trump would be under enormous pressure to pick up some other Democratic-leaning battleground state, such as Pennsylvania or Michigan.
In one sign of the Clinton campaign’s growing confidence, the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA has decided to suspend TV ads in Virginia – as well as Colorado and Pennsylvania -- until at least the end of September, Bloomberg Politics reported.
Clinton currently leads Trump by roughly 10 percentage points in both Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Guy Cecil, the super PAC’s political director, told Bloomberg TV’s With All Due Respect on Monday that “Right now, we are going to look at other opportunities for us to expand the map and potentially reach out to some new voters as well as through voter registration,” he said.