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Poll shows McAuliffe’s lead over Youngkin tightening in gubernatorial race

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican challenger, Glenn Youngkin, participate in a debate at Northern Virginia Community College, in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican challenger, Glenn Youngkin, participate in a debate at Northern Virginia Community College, in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

RICHMOND, Va. – Democrats are in the lead for governor as Election Day gets closer in Virginia, but new polling shows that their lead is narrowing.

The Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University released findings from a new poll on Friday morning.

The results show that since the center’s last poll in late August, the Democratic lead has shrunk and the races for governor and lieutenant governor now stand within the survey’s margin of error.

According to the poll, Independent voters have shifted significantly in favor of the Republican candidates, and Republican voters are more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats — with 61% of Republican likely voters saying they are very enthusiastic compared to 55% of Democrats.

We’ll break down the findings below:

Gubernatorial race

  • Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe holds a small lead against Republican Glenn Youngkin at 49% to 45%. In the August poll, McAuliffe had a nine-point lead at 50% compared to Youngkin’s 41%.
  • Independent voters have significantly shifted to Youngkin, who has gained 11 points since the August poll. McAuliffe has lost ground among Independent voters.
  • Youngkin’s support is largely driven by white, male voters and those from the South and Southwest regions of the state.
  • McAuliffe’s support is strongest among women, Black voters and voters age 44 and younger as well as voters in the Northern Virginia region. He has gained slight ground among self-identified Republicans.

Lt. Governor race

  • Democratic Del. Hala Ayala leads former Republican Del. Winsome Sears by four points, with 8% undecided.
  • The poll shows that this race has tightened significantly since the August survey, which had Ayalan leading by 10 points.
  • Since the August poll, Sears has gained 10 points among Independents while Ayala’s support has dropped from 49% to 41%.
  • Both candidates have lost support among their base.
  • Ayala’s support is mainly driven by voters age 44 and younger, Black voters and women with an advantage in Northern Virginia.
  • Sears’ strongest support comes from white voters and voters in the South and Southwest region.

Attorney General race

  • Democratic incumbent Mark Herring leads Republican Del. Jason Miyares 49% to 43%, with 7% undecided.
  • This race has tightened by six points since the August poll.
  • Miyares has increased support by 11 points over the last month among Independents, while Herring has lost support among Independents.
  • Herring continues to have support among the conventional Democratic base of women, Black voters and younger voters.
  • Miyares has an advantage among white voters and voters in the South and Southwest regions.

You can read the full study below:

Wason Center Poll by WSLS on Scribd


About the Author:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a digital content producer in July 2018.