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Razor-thin margins in Virginia’s race for governor

by | Oct 29, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

With four days to go to determine who will be Virginia’s next governor, polls show a toss-up between pro-life Glenn Youngkin and pro-abortion Terry McAuliffe. With one conspicuous exception.

Fox News dropped the results of a poll last evening which showed Youngkin up eight points (53% to 45%) among likely voters. McAuliffe was ahead by five, 51%-46% just two week ago. Among registered voters, Youngkin was ahead 48% to 47%.

By contrast, the latest Washington Post survey had McAuliffe up by one—49% to 48%– as Christopher Newport University’s Wason poll also had McAuliffe with an identical one point lead, 49% to 48%.

However, CNU also found

Republican likely voters are significantly more enthusiastic about voting in this election than Democratic likely voters (80% to 65% very enthusiastic), an advantage that has surged 9 points since the October 8 Wason Center survey. …

That 15-point enthusiasm advantage was only 6 points in our October 8 survey (61% to 55%). Regionally, the hotly contested Richmond/Central region has tilted significantly in Republicans favor since our last survey, going from a 3-point lead to a 12-point lead (55% to 43%) at the top of the ticket. 

An internal poll taken for Republican Winsome Sears also found good news for candidates further down the ticket.

In the lieutenant governor race, the poll finds  Sears leading Democratic Delegate Hala Ayala 47% to 46%. In the attorney general race, Republican Jason Miyares leads Democratic incumbent Mark Herring 46% to 45%. A generic state House of Delegates ballot found that 48% chose Republican and 46% chose Democratic.

McAuliffe “is struggling to unify Biden’s coalition with the support of 89 percent of Biden voters while Youngkin is backed by 99 percent of Trump voters,” according to the Washington Post. That’s not aided by Biden’s dismal standing among Commonwealth voters.  While Biden carried Virginia by ten points in 2020, his approval rating has dropped to 43%.

One final thought, doubling back on the enthusiasm gap. Michael Cohen, writing for The Hill observed 

There are other signs — or lack of them. Drive around Loudoun County, the most up-for-grabs one in the commonwealth, and you will have to search for a McAuliffe yard sign. Yes, yard signs are overrated as a persuasive political tactic, but they reflect voter enthusiasm. This is not upstate or downstate. This is right in the middle, and McAuliffe is invisible, while Youngkin is everywhere. If you are a low-information voter, you could be  excused for thinking there is only one name on the ballot.

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