By Dave Andrusko
A new poll, conducted by the University of Mary Washington and Research America Inc., finds newcomer Glenn Youngkin narrowly edging ahead of one-time governor Terry McAuliffe in the contestant to be the Commonwealth’s next chief executive,
“To borrow from Mark Twain, the reports of the end of Virginia’s status as a swing state are greatly exaggerated,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington and director of UMW’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies. “The large number of undecided voters at this stage demonstrates that either major party candidate can become the next governor of Virginia.”
While McAuliffe leads among total registered voters, 43% to 38%, Youngkin leads among likely voters, 48% to 43%.
Ralph Northam (D) is ineligible to run for re-election this year because of term limits. “McAuliffe, who held the post from 2014 to 2018, waited four years to vie for office again,” according to the University of Mary Washington.
“Right now, this year’s contest for governor looks to be the closest statewide election in years,” Farnsworth said. “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. He is not president anymore, and recent Democratic advantages in statewide contests seem to have departed with him.”
The contests for Lt. Governor and Attorney General also show Republican challengers in the lead.
“In the race for lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears (R) was supported by 47 percent of likely voters, compared to 41 percent for Democratic candidate Hala Ayala. In the race for attorney general, incumbent Mark Herring (D) had the support of 42 percent, compared to 46 percent for Jason Miyares, a Republican.”