The contentious Virginia gubernatorial race is almost over with multiple polls predicting an extremely close race.
A Washington Post-Schar School poll found 49 % of likely voters favoring Democrat Terry McAuliffe while 48% favor Republican Glenn Youngkin. The month before, the poll found 50% support for the Democrat candidate and 47% for the Republican.
A Fox News survey of Virginia likely voters found Youngkin lead McAuliffe, 53% to 47%. Once again, the result reflected Younkin’s surge in popularity. The former governor was in the lead in the same poll two weeks earlier, 51% to 46%.
The news outlet says “GOP enthusiasm” grew during the final weeks of the campaign.
“The race is largely focused on education and this has energized Republicans, as 79 percent of Youngkin supporters are ‘extremely’ interested in the election compared to 69 percent of McAuliffe supporters,” says Fox.
The poll evaluated voter trust regarding key campaign issues. Education has been at the center of the race. Voter trust increased for McAuliffe by two points but by eight for Youngkin.
Voters generally report trusting Younkin more, especially regarding crime. He also has a 22 point advantage with independents.
McAuliffe has more support from black voters, moderates, voters under age 35, and suburban women.
Democratic pollster Chris Anderson conducted the survey for Fox with Republican Daron Shaw.
“With the race essentially tied among the full registered voter universe, McAuliffe could still pull this off,” reported Anderson. “But it would take something big to ignite enthusiasm for McAuliffe’s candidacy and a massively effective get-out-the-vote effort.”
A USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll released on Oct. 26 put the candidates in a dead heat with 45% of likely voters each. About 5% of Virginia voters said they were undecided.
Of those surveyed, 40% supported President Donald Trump during the 2020 election and 47% voted for current President Joe Biden.
The poll also found that 66% of Virginians believe the country is on the wrong track. Just 26% say it is going in the right direction.
Experts describe this race as a “mid-term” grade for a presidential administration. They say it can indicate the direction of upcoming mid-term elections. Democrats have won the state’s last two gubernatorial races.
“President Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 percentage points over Donald Trump in last year’s general election. But the president’s approval rating is now below 50 percent in the commonwealth, an apparent headwind for McAuliffe’s comeback effort,” Politico reports. “Though Virginia has long been viewed as a purple state, Democrats have had a strong run in recent years and Republicans have not won statewide since 2009.”