Democrat Leads Republican Incumbent in Key Virginia House Race: Poll

(Bloomberg) -- Democrat Jennifer Wexton leads Republican incumbent Representative Barbara Comstock, according to a Monmouth University Poll that shows Democrats poised to pick up a key U.S. House seat in the fast-growing Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Wexton, a state senator, leads Comstock 50 percent to 44 percent among likely voters, though if Democratic turnout surges like it did in Virginia’s state elections last year, Wexton’s six point lead rises to nine.

Democrat Leads Republican Incumbent in Key Virginia House Race: Poll

The highly educated 10th district stretches from the outer suburbs of Loudoun County westward to Winchester and the West Virginia state line. Comstock was first elected to the House in 2014 to replace her former boss, Republican Representative Frank Wolf, who retired after serving 17 terms, though the area has slipped more and more toward Democrats as townhomes and commuter subdivisions replaced farmland.

Districts like this, where Hillary Clinton won by nearly 10 points in 2016 even as Comstock held on to win by six, are considered essential for Democrats who hope to win back House control.

This is a place where national news is local news, and the Washington Post is the hometown paper. It’s home to lobbyists, professional activists and countless federal workers, where you might see someone talking on CNN then run into them the next day at the grocery store. So it may be no surprise that nearly three fourths of them say President Trump is a very important factor in their vote. That’s bipartisan too - 74 percent of the president’s supporters and 82 percent of his opponents in the district plan to cast a Trump proxy vote.

The race also will give election watchers an early view of how the 2018 midterms will go. Virginia polls close at 7 p.m. Eastern time, among the earliest in the nation. If Democrats pick the seat up quickly, it’ll be one of their first wins on what could be a very good night. If the count stretches to the wee hours, or if Comstock holds on to win, Republicans may yet be able to save their House majority.

Monmouth’s poll of 374 likely voters in the district from Sept. 26-30 has an error margin of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the district as Leans Democratic.

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