Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

With just 13 days until Virginia Election Day, the gubernatorial showdown between former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin is deadlocked, according to a new poll.

McAuliffe and Youngkin are both at 46% among Virginia-registered voters, according to a study from Monmouth University conducted 16-19. October and released Wednesday.

It’s a shift from Monmouth’s surveys in September and August of the closely monitored race across the country with likely national consequences, as McAuliffe had 5-point leads.

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The new poll indicates that an increase in support among independents for Youngkin is an important factor in GOP-nominated drawing, even with McAuliffe. Youngkin tops McAuliffe 48% -39% among independents, compared to a 46% -37% lead for the former governor in Monmouth’s poll in September.

The survey also shows that Youngkin is increasing support among female voters. McAulife’s lead of 52% -38% among women in September fell to 47% -43% in the most recent survey.

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former governor Terry McAuliffe, left and Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, joins their debate at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, September 28, 2021. (AP Photo / Cliff Owen)

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former governor Terry McAuliffe, left and Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, joins their debate at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, September 28, 2021. (AP Photo / Cliff Owen)
(AP)

The study also suggests that geography is at stake — Youngkin increased his already huge lead in western Virginia — the reddest part of the state — while McAulife’s big lead in bright blue northern Virginia has fallen slightly. The new study indicates that McAuliffe retains single-digit benefits in the Tidewater and Richmond / I-95 areas of the Commonwealth.

“Suburban women, especially in northern Virginia, have been instrumental in the significant victories the Democrats have had in the Commonwealth since 2017. However, their support is not registered at the same level this time. This is due in part to a shift in key issues important to these voters and partly to dampen enthusiasm among party believers, ”said Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray.

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The survey points to a shift in voters’ priorities, with 45% saying jobs and the economy are the biggest issue, up from 39% in September. Education and schools – with 41% – is now the second most pressing issue, a ten-point increase from last month. The fight against COVID dropped to third place, by 23%, a drop of 11 points from September.

The new study indicates that Youngkin – who has defended parental rights when dealing with their children’s education as the final theme of his campaign – has pulled himself together with McAuliffe about having confidence in managing education and schools. And the vote indicates that Youngkin now has a small advantage over McAuliffe with confidence in jobs and finances.

The investigation was conducted in the wake of a large verbal gaff by McAuliffe. During the second and final debate between the two candidates, McAuliffe said “I do not think parents should tell schools what to learn.”

The Youngkin campaign and other Republicans jumped forward and helped make the clip go viral.

“McAulife’s significant edge in dealing with Covid and his competitiveness in financial matters last month helped put him ahead in this race, but Youngkin has been able to change the terms of the debate by using his opponent’s words about parental involvement in “The school’s curriculum to shift voters’ attention to this issue. This has not only eroded the Democrat’s previous advantage on education policy, but it has also raised doubts about McAulife’s ability to deal with the pandemic,” Murray said.

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Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states to hold gubernatorial contests in the year following a presidential election, ensuring they receive excessive attention from coast to coast.

There is a long-standing tendency for voters in the Commonwealth to defeat the governor’s nominees for the party that controls the White House. McAuliffe broke with this tradition in 2013 with his election as governor in the year after Obama was re-elected. McAuliffe was unable to run for re-election in 2017 because Virginia governors are barred from serving two equal terms.

Republicans have not won in the entire state of Virginia for a dozen years, and now President Biden had the state with 10 points in November last year.

But the one-time battlefield remains a highly competitive state, which is seen as an important bell ahead of the midterm elections in 2022. The close competition for governor has National Democrats at the forefront when defending their razor-sharp majority in the House of Representatives and Senate in next year’s contests.

The new poll, as with other recent polls, points to an enthusiasm advantage among GOP voters. By a margin of 79% -72%, Republicans indicated they were more motivated to vote than Democrats.

McAuliffe is putting full pressure on the court to get Democrats to vote in the current early voting period or go to the polls on election day.

One way is by bringing in the best democratic surrogates. First Lady Jill Biden campaigned with McAuliffe on Friday, and suffrage activist Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic leader of Georgia House who in 2018 made history as the first black female governor nominated for a major political party, joined him two stops Sunday.

Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with McAuliffe on Thursday, and former President Barack Obama will campaign with McAuliffe on Saturday. McAuliffe’s also said twice over the past week that Biden will join him as well. But the president’s status in the Commonwealth continues to slide, standing at 43% approval and 52% disapproval in the new poll.

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The survey also shows that McAulife’s favorable ratings have fallen — from 40% favorable and 33% unfavorable last month to 39% -39% now. Youngkins 41% favorable and 29% unfavorable rating is relatively unchanged from September.

The poll at Monmouth University questioned 1,005 registered voters in Virginia, with an overall sample error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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