CNU poll: McAuliffe has 4-point lead over Youngkin
Margins tighten in all three statewide races
A new day brings new polling numbers for Virginia’s statewide candidates. In Christopher Newport University’s latest poll released Friday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Glenn Youngkin with 49% of likely voters saying they plan to cast their ballots for the former governor against 45% for the Fairfax County retired businessman.
The race is within the survey’s 4.2% margin of error.
An additional 5% say they’re undecided, and 1% say they plan to vote for third-party candidate Princess Blanding. The survey, conducted Sept. 27-Oct. 6 among 802 registered Virginia voters who are likely to vote in the general election, was conducted by CNU’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership, which last released a survey in August showing a nine-point lead for McAuliffe. On Thursday, a poll by Emerson College and Nexstar Media Group indicated only a one-point lead for McAuliffe, basically a dead heat.
Most public polls released in the past month have shown the numbers tightening, with Youngkin catching up to McAuliffe. The CNU poll marks a shift for independent voters, with Youngkin gaining 11 points since late August, from 39% support to 50%, although McAuliffe has retained 50% support among women, 55% for voters age 44 and younger, and 59% of voters in Northern Virginia.
In the lieutenant governor race, Democrat Del. Hala Ayala leads Republican Winsome Sears 48% to 44%, with 8% undecided. In August’s CNU poll, Ayala led by 10 points. Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, leads Republican Del. Jason Miyares 49% to 42%, with 7% undecided, six points less than Herring’s lead in August.
The survey found that 61% of likely Republican voters are enthusiastic about the election vs. 55% of Democratic-leaning voters. In another question, 61% of those polled say they support laws to protect access to abortion, while 30% support making it more difficult to receive an abortion. The issue has become hotter lately due to Texas’ ban on all abortions after six weeks and the U.S. Supreme Court’s lack of action in suspending the law’s enactment.
“The abortion issue has been tricky for Youngkin,” Wason Center Research Director Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo said in a statement. “Trying to navigate between moderate voters who oppose further restrictions while simultaneously appealing to the Republican base who would like a strong pro-life stance, Youngkin has said he would not have voted for the Texas law, but he’s been unclear about how far he would go to restrict abortions in Virginia.”
McAuliffe, who says he supports abortion rights, including third-trimester procedures if a woman’s life is in danger, has used the issue to hammer his opponent, who was captured on video in July saying he couldn’t talk extensively about the issue, because abortion rights could cause him to lose some independent votes.