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Education, abortion and COVID-19 among key issues for voters in Virginia governor’s race

Wason Center Survey shows that McAuliffe holds a small but narrowing lead over Youngkin, 49% to 45%

It’s a tight race for Virginia’s governor. Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are going head to head.
It’s a tight race for Virginia’s governor. Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are going head to head.

It’s a tight race for Virginia’s governor. Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are going head to head this November.

A range of issues is driving voters to the polls.

For Janet Poage, who lives in Vinton, it’s the economy and jobs.

“I think the big thing is the taxes that we have right now and the unemployment rate,” said Poage.

For Caleb Wood, it’s change.

“I think we need somebody new in there,” said Wood, who lives in Roanoke. “And we need a conservative.”

Issues like abortion and COVID-19 are also top of mind.

“I do hold all life precious, whether that be unborn, newborn or elderly,” said Cindy Flint from Catawba.

“Mask mandates are important. Vaccines are important. And most importantly, science is important,” said Wade Dearstyne, who lives in Roanoke.

The latest Wason Center Survey shows that McAuliffe holds a small but narrowing lead over Youngkin, 49% to 45%.

And Republican likely voters are more enthusiastic about voting in this election than Democratic likely voters 61% to 55%.

J. Miles Coleman, a political analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said that’ll be telling.

“They may just want it more,” said Coleman.

The poll shows Youngkin gained 11 points among independent voters since late august, jumping from 39% to 50%. McAuliffe lost ground, dropping from 44% to 41%.

Virginia Tech Professor of Political Science Karen Hult said both candidates will go after independent voters.

″They’re not necessarily guaranteed votes. Those are really the folks we’ll see both candidates target and go after over the next several days,” said Hult.

In a close race, voter turnout is key

“That may make a difference,” said Hult.

“I think it’s going to be a tight, tight, race,” said Poage.


About the Author:

Lindsey joined the WSLS 10 team as a reporter in February 2019 and is thrilled to call Roanoke her new home!