Axios: This McAuliffe Character Certainly Seems A Bit Panicky

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Posted: Oct 26, 2021 10:35 AM
Axios: This McAuliffe Character Certainly Seems A Bit Panicky

Source: AP Photo/Steve Helber

Last week, we asked whether Terry McAuliffe was panicking in the Virginia gubernatorial race.  This week, Axios takes inventory of McAuliffe's actions and detects more than a faint whiff of desperation. Recall that McAuliffe recently cut short a local TV interview, scolding the journalist for not asking the "right" sort of questions. Same energy here. Behold, "an air of tension, bordering on panic": 


Who requests an interview, then abruptly limits it to five minutes? Terry McAuliffe, apparently. Looking at polling is one thing, but the behavior of the candidates can sometimes betray the true state of play. McAuliffe, who wakes up every morning and sees his own internal polling, is not campaigning like a confident man. That doesn't mean that he's losing, or thinks he's on the brink of a loss. But it does mean that he doesn't believe he has this race in the bag, even in a state that went blue by ten full points one year ago. He's lying a lot and has seemed agitated, whereas Glenn Youngkin comes across as calm and upbeat. There's almost no question who has the momentum in the final week of this contest. What does remain to be seen is whether Youngkin's momentum will be enough for him to get over the top and actually pull off the upset. Youngkin needs big GOP turnout, plus underwhelming Democratic base turnout, plus independents and undecideds breaking decisively for him. Is that doable? Yes. Polling suggests that those things are happening. But is it sufficient? Gulp


Parents and indies are flocking to Youngkin, which are developments he absolutely needs to happen to have a viable shot. But even with that headway, he's making, the top line ballot is still tied. Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics agrees that it's tight, but still thinks McAuliffe is in a better position to win: 


Virginia is a purple-trending-blue state and he's the Democrat on the ballot. Those fundamentals clearly favor McAuliffe. The rest of the fundamentals – national environment, presidential approval, Virginia electoral history, trajectory, enthusiasm – favor Youngkin. Those dynamics will collide one week from today and we'll see which set prevails. I'll leave you with yet another look at the massive issue of schools, which Democrats and media types have spent a lot of time convincing themselves is phony and "trumped up," as Barack Obama called it over the weekend.  But it's moving the needle on the ground and in people's lives: 

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And that's why McAuliffe has been playing frantic defense – and, naturally, lying in the process

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