By KATIE HIPPLE
Incumbent Senator Tim Kaine is holding a strong lead over challenger Corey Stewart, a UMW poll conducted by survey company SSRS earlier this month reports.
Senator Kaine has had a long run in Virginia politics. According Biography.com, he graduated from Harvard Law in 1983 and was elected to serve in the Senate in 2012. Kaine was elected to the Virginia gubernatorial seat in 2015. Then in 2016, he was chosen as Hillary Clinton’s running mate for the presidential election.
His challenger, Corey Stewart, has served on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors for four terms. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Stewart served as head of President Trump’s Virginia campaign. In 2017, Stewart narrowly lost the Virginia governorship primary to Ed Gillespie by 1.2 percent. Now he is stepping back into the political arena to challenge Senator Kaine.
SSRS is a survey company. Between Tuesday, Sept. 4 and Sunday, Sept. 9, the company called 801 adults living in the state of Virginia. The survey was conducted in only English.
Various UMW students and staff voiced their opinions about the poll and its results.
“As a whole, the UMW statewide survey suggests that 2018 is looking a lot like 2017,” said political science professor Stephen Farnsworth. “President Trump remains unpopular in Virginia, and that is bad news for Republican incumbents running in swing districts in the state. Voters show a strong preference for Tim Kaine, that Democratic Senator who is running for reelection, which means Republican nominee Corey Stewart is not likely to offer much help to Republican congressional candidates.”
Some students feel that voters will consider candidates opinions on national and local matters, including their views of the current administration in the White House.
“I know that from what I have heard around campus, a lot of people agree with [Kaine] because he is against Trump, and not many are for Trump around here,” said senior studio art major Chrystal Knapp. “I think young voters we have a voice however I know that we do not speak up enough or take polls seriously.”
Others feel that experience will play a role in influencing voters.
“I think Tim Kaine will win simply because he is the incumbent. I don’t think enough people, old or young, vote in the state and local elections,” said freshman Mason Schultz.
Justin Binns, a junior history major commented, “I think [the poll] is good for the democratic party and I would expect it to be closer at the polling date, but I would expect the democrats to have a clear advantage.” He later added, “I would think if more young voters don’t come out this year and this next presidential election I can’t see when they ever will again with Trump in office.”
According to Elections.Virginia.gov, the deadline to register to vote is Oct. 15, so there is still time. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 30 by 5 p.m.