Poll Shows Biden As The Only Democrat Who Would Defeat Trump In Virginia Strategists warn that the latest polling doesn't reflect the state's shift toward progressive politics and say the Democratic presidential candidate will benefit once the nomination process is over.
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Poll Shows Biden As The Only Democrat Who Would Defeat Trump In Virginia

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden clasps his hands as he greets potential supporters at a campaign event on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Peterborough, N.H. Mary Schwalm/AP Photo hide caption

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Mary Schwalm/AP Photo

If Virginia held elections tomorrow, former Vice President Joe Biden is the only Democrat who would beat President Trump in the commonwealth, according to a new poll. The result comes after Virginia Democrats flipped both houses of the General Assembly in November, though the survey may not capture the depth of the state's turn away from the Republican Party.

The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, asked Virginia voters who they would pick among the four front-runners in the Democratic primary, each pitted against the president. Biden got 49% of the vote compared to Trump's 45%. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren earned about 44% of the hypothetical vote compared to 48% that voters gave Trump. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would lose to the president in a 45-51 vote, according to the poll, and Pete Buttigieg would lose 45% of the vote compared to Trump's theoretical 47%.

There were 625 respondents in the poll with a margin of error of 4%.

Virginia, once a swing state, has shifted blue in recent decades. In November, voters handed Democrats a majority in both houses of the legislature, giving the party control of all branches of government for the first time in a generation.

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Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett said the December poll doesn't mean that Trump would win should Warren, Sanders or Buttigieg be nominated as the party's presidential candidate.

"When you have a nominee, the party will immediately consolidate behind that nominee," he said.

Moreover, Tribbett added, he could not imagine Virginia voting Republican in the upcoming election unless it was part of a broader national landslide.

"When you look at trend lines of where Donald Trump has been underperforming since he became president — it's among diverse communities, it's among younger communities and it's among wealthier and well-educated communities. All of those demographics are over-represented in Virginia versus other states which is why you've seen the state move so far left so quickly," Tribbett added.

Virginia holds its Democratic primary among 14 states on March 3, known as Super Tuesday. By then, the candidates will have already contended in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Biden's camp is investing heavily in Virginia, according to Molly Ritner, the campaign's director of Super Tuesday states. In a statement, she wrote to WAMU that the campaign has hired a Virginia state director, Fernando Mercado, who was a longtime Democratic operative in Virginia before he served in Iowa on Sen. Kamala Harris's (D-Calif.) campaign.

"Virginia will play a key role in both the Primary and General, so it's imperative that we continue growing Joe Biden's expansive and diverse coalition within Virginia," Ritner wrote.

In a sign of the state's rising prominence for Democrats, the legislative election two months ago became a popular campaign stop for presidential contenders.

Biden rallied in Sterling days before the state elections; Sanders visited Manassas to stump for Del. Lee Carter; Warren held a rally at George Mason University and a town hall in Norfolk. Buttigieg was the first candidate to file for the Virginia primary; he earned his first congressional endorsement from Rep. Don Beyer of Alexandria. And former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose gun control and environmental groups donated significantly to Democratic state lawmaker campaigns in November, made his first campaign stop just weeks later in Norfolk.

By contrast, Trump has kept a low profile in the state. Ahead of November's election, he tweeted his support for the losing state Senate campaign of Republican Geary Higgins but did not campaign in person even though he frequently visits his golf course in Sterling.

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