|U.S. Senator Mark Warner at the Democratic Party of Virginia's 2014 Jefferson Jackson Dinner|
With less than two weeks until the election, incumbent Democrat Mark Warner is the choice of 47% of Virginia voters in the 18-35 age group, according to a statewide survey released today by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Among those Millennial voters, Libertarian Robert Sarvis polled 24%, with Republican Ed Gillespie the choice of only 11%. Another 18% are undecided.Read the complete report at the Wason Center.
This poll has both short and long term consequences. In the short term it points to the reality that Ed Gillespie has almost no chance of overtaking the Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Warner. In the long term, it points to a failure on the part of the Republican Party of Virginia to attract new and younger voters. Increasingly, young conservatives are identifying themselves as libertarians and are rejecting the social conservative wing of the Republican Party.
This poll could point to real problems for the Republican Party of Virginia in future statewide races, as the RPV could have trouble assembling a winning coalition between the social conservative and libertarian wings of the party. This should little effect, however, on the highly gerrymandered Virginia General Assembly and Virginia's U.S. Representative seats. The RPV's gerrymandering efforts have ensured that Virginia's social conservative minority can impose their will on the majority of Virginians, who are much more moderate or even liberal.