Statewide poll for Center for Leadership and Media Studies suggests possible Senate showdown in 2024

The 2022 annual statewide survey from the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington focuses on contests taking place this fall, with one notable forecast. If Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) and US Senator Tim Kaine (D) face off in a possible US Senate contest in 2024, 41% of Virginians would support Kaine, while 39% could support Youngkin, according to the survey this year.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin

“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 said. , professor of political science at the University. of Mary Washington and Director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at UMW. “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.”

The small difference between the two candidates, within the survey’s margin of error, suggests that such a contest – if it occurs – would likely be the Commonwealth’s closest Senate race in a decade. The poll of 1,000 people of Virginia adults was conducted for UMW’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies by Research America Inc. from September 6-12 and contains a margin of error of plus/minus 3, 1 percentage points.

As the poll shows, support for Kaine is strongest in Northern Virginia and the Tidewater area, while support for Youngkin is strongest in south-central Virginia and parts of the US. west and northwest of the state. Among women polled, Kaine has a 42% to 36% advantage; Youngkin has a 42-40% advantage in men.

US Senator Tim Kaine
US Senator Tim Kaine

Asked to rate Senator Kaine’s job performance, 36% of those polled approved and 34% disagreed. For Youngkin, 45% of respondents said they approved of the work he was doing, while 30% expressed disapproval. For more information on these results compared to previous governors and current presidential ratings, see the first set of survey results.

Governors of Virginia can only serve one consecutive term and therefore often choose to run for the United States Senate after their four years of service are completed. Kaine and Mark Warner (D), the other senator from Virginia, are both former governors. Youngkin’s term as governor expires in January 2026.

Virginians approved of Warner’s professional performance with a margin of 38% approval to 33% disapproval, similar to Kaine’s ratings.

Kaine was first elected to the Senate in 2012, beating George Allen, a former senator and governor, by a margin of 53% to 47%. Kaine won re-election in 2018 with 57% of the vote in a contest with Corey Stewart, a conservative Republican who had served as chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

Survey Information:

The University of Mary Washington Virginia Fall 2022 Survey was conducted by Research America Inc. September 6-12. The total sample included 1,000 Virginia residents, including 819 registered voters and 705 likely voters. A portion of the sample (630) was contacted by telephone (72% cell and 28% landline), and a portion of the sample (370) was contacted online. All interviews were in English. Statistical results are weighted to correct for known demographic discrepancies, including age, gender, and race/ethnicity. The margin of error on the total sample is +/- 3.1%. The margin of error on the likely voters portion of the sample is +/- 4.1%.

For a more in-depth examination of the survey results, see Topline and the 2024 Senate Crosstabs Report. Or read the September 23, 2022 version, Virginia public schools get top marks in new statewide surveyor the version of September 27, 2022, Voters Motivated in Midterm Elections According to New Statewide Survey.

For more information, contact Professor Farnsworth at