Northam maintains double-digit lead in Quinnipiac poll

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Libertarian Cliff Hyra received 2 percent of the votes in that poll. She says they hope to reduce the 4.2-percent error margin closer to 3-percent. That imbalance may underpin Northam's slight edge over Gillespie in a close contest.

"This has never been more than a five point race in Monmouth's polling, and that means either candidate has a very real shot at winning this thing".

A Wason Center for Public Policy poll at Christopher Newport University shows a narrower advantage for Northam, with the lieutenant governor leading Gillespie 48 percent to 44 percent.

Gillespie is emphasizing the crime issue, accusing Northam of being soft on the violent MS-13 illegal immigrant gang.

"It is hard to tease out a specific Trump effect from all the other considerations Virginians make in deciding how to vote in this race", he said.

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But so far, Trump has not been a big factor, Murray said.

Virginia, once reliably conservative, is now a swing state.

The details released by Northam's campaign said Obama would appear at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and the event begins at 5 p.m. Virginia was the only southern state Hillary Clinton won.

Voter turnout traditionally drops markedly a year after a presidential election, so Obama's appearance is an opportunity to solidify the Democrats' base vote in the Richmond area, including African-Americans and young voters, Holsworth said.

Major donors to Gillespie include several wealthy businessmen, including Houston Texans owner Robert C. McNair, former President George W. Bush and the tobacco giant Altria.