Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe would lose his race for a second term to unknown Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin, a new poll shows, setting off panic alarms among Democrats.
Youngkin leads McAuliffe 48 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, a new University of Mary Washington poll finds. The Cook Political Report moved its rating of the race from “leans Democrat” to “toss-up.”
Virginia’s governor’s race is a nationally-watched contest, as it is held the year after each presidential election and generally predicts which party will win the next year’s national midterm elections.
Despite Virginia’s status as a “blue” state and McAuliffe’s perception as a successful former governor, rising rage against President Joe Biden and a radicalized Democrat Party have sent his fortunes tumbling. The UMW poll found 48 percent of Virginia voters disapproved of Biden’s job performance, while almost 44 percent approved – almost identical margins as the gubernatorial race.
“This election looks very different from those of the past four years, when Democrats could win by substantial margins by just focusing the electorate on President Trump,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, UMW professor of political science and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies. “He is not president any more, and recent Democratic advantages in statewide contests seem to have departed with him.”
“(M)any of the fundamentals favor McAuliffe—and we expect he still has a slight edge—it’s Youngkin who seems to have the enthusiasm on his side,” said Cook’s Jessica Taylor.
Virginia voters will also elect a lieutenant governor and attorney general. The poll found Republicans narrowly leading in both races, despite the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor having to lay off her entire staff and the Democrat nominee for attorney general being a well-funded incumbent.
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