The first exit polls of voters in Virginia and New Jersey were released Tuesday afternoon — and they reveal that six in ten respondents favor leaving monuments to Confederate soldiers in place.
Virginia exit poll (first wave) — Monuments to Confederate leaders on govt property should be…
Left in place: 60%
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) November 7, 2017
That is tentatively good news for the campaign of Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, who is hoping for a come-from-behind victory.
His Democratic opponent, current Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, has struggled to fend off questions about an advertisement run on his behalf by a group called the Latino Victory Fund.
The ad, which has since been pulled, showed a white man using a pickup truck to chase minority children. The truck was decorated with a Confederate battle flag, a Gadsen flag (a popular Tea Party symbol) on the license plate, and an Ed Gillespie bumper sticker.
Earlier this year, Democrats and left-wing activists pushed for the removal of Confederate monuments, notably in Charlottesville, where violence broke out between right- and left-wing protesters. A right-wing extremist drove his car into a crowd of left-wing protesters, killing one woman — an incident alluded to in the Latino Victory Fund ad.
In some parts of the country, left-wing activists took matters into their own hands, vandalizing or removing statues themselves, leading to a national backlash.
A Fox News poll in August showed that 62% of Americans want to preserve historic Confederate statues, while 27% want to see them removed.
CNN notes that majorities in both Virginia and New Jersey oppose President Trump’s performance in office.
In addition, health care is by far the most important issue for Virginia voters.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.