Youngkin-McAuliffe race in dead heat, new poll says
Former governor has 49% to GOP challenger's 48%
According to a new poll by Emerson College and Nexstar Media Group, Virginia’s race for governor is in a dead heat. Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a one-point lead over Republican contender Glenn Youngkin in a survey of 620 likely voters conducted at the start of October.
Polls have been all over the place in the past few weeks, but most indicate a closer race than before, with political novice Youngkin gaining ground on McAuliffe, who seeks his second, nonconsecutive term as governor. In September, Youngkin had a five-point lead in a poll for the University of Mary Washington, and September’s Emerson/Nexstar poll showed McAuliffe with a four-point lead.
However, the new poll released Thursday shows McAuliffe with 49% support among those polled and Youngkin with 48%. One percent said they would vote for someone else — possibly third-party progressive candidate Princess Blanding — and 2% were undecided. The margin of error is 3.9%.
In the attorney general’s race, incumbent Democrat Mark Herring has a two-point lead over Republican candidate Del. Jason Miyares, at 46% to 44%, and 10% say they are undecided. The survey did not include questions about the lieutenant governor race between Republican Winsome Sears and Democrat Del. Hala Ayala.
One key demographic for the outcome of the gubernatorial race is how well McAuliffe performs in Northern Virginia, which has leaned heavily Democratic and has strongly contributed to the state turning blue in recent years. In the Emerson/Nexstar poll, McAuliffe leads the Northern region 64% to 36%, but suburban residents lean slightly toward Youngkin, who has a one-point advantage with 49%.
Another factor is President Joe Biden’s popularity, which is waning in Virginia, which he won last year by 10 points. According to the poll, he has 45% approval and 48% disapproval ratings. McAuliffe, who made his name as a friend of the Clintons and a prodigious Democratic Party fundraiser before seeking office, has received significant public support from Biden, who appeared on the campaign trail for the Democratic candidate earlier this year.
Read more about the race and where the candidates stand on issues in October’s cover story.