U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria and Republican challenger Jen Kiggans are tied in the race for Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, a new Christopher Newport University survey finds.
The two women, both Navy veterans, are locked in a dead heat at 45% each in the poll, with 8% of voters still undecided.
Among all voters, inflation and the economy are top-of-mind issues this election cycle, with 39% of respondents indicating that was the most pressing issue facing the nation. Abortion followed at 17%, followed by threats to democracy at 14%.
Among Democrats, 78% said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade was a major factor in their voting choice. Across parties, 54% of women said the abortion decision was a major factor in their voting decision. Among Black voters, 68% put high value on the Supreme Court decision.
But among Republicans, 94% said inflation was a major factor in their voting choice. Democrats indicated the same among just 44% among respondents while 65% of independents indicating that as a top factor in their voting decisions.
President Joe Biden is driving voting choices among Republicans, with 79% saying their vote for Congress is a vote against Biden. But overall a plurality of voters (45%) say the President is not much of a factor in their vote, a number largely driven by 62% of independent voters who indicate that position. Meanwhile, just 47% of Democrats say their congressional vote is a nod to the sitting President.
Both women are Navy veterans — Kiggans a former helicopter pilot and Luria a retired naval commander. Luria is running as a moderate in the left-leaning district.
Democrats have a more than 60,000 voter advantage in the southeaster Virginia district, with 241,409 registered Democrats to 180,016 GOP voters, according to the most recent L2 voter data. Another more than 108,000 voters are non-partisan.
Luria, vulnerable in the first Midterm election since President Barack Obama that a Democrat has occupied the White House, has been hitting Kiggans an an election denier.
A recent ad spotlighted footage of Kiggans refusing to answer whether she believed Biden was the rightful winner of the 2020 Presidential election.
The ad shows an interview with Kiggans where she was specifically asked if Biden won the election. The video shows Kiggans saying merely “a lot of extreme words” while uncomfortably chuckling and further deflecting from the question, before ending the interview.
The two squared off a week ago in a fiery debate where Luria hammered the Trump-alligned election denial critiques. The two also sparred over federal spending, the economy and abortion restrictions, all common talking points this election cycle.
FiveThirtyEight gives Luria a 5 percentage point advantage in the race, at 39% to Kiggans’ 34%.