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Nail-biter: Another Day, Another Tied Poll in Virginia

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

As we were just saying about Terry McAuliffe and panic, yet another Virginia survey shows the Commonwealth's gubernatorial race exactly tied, with one week left to go. I've heard from sources connected to the campaign that internal GOP polling has been tracking a very slight Glenn Youngkin lead in recent days – and McAuliffe is certainly acting as though his data is showing things very tight. Here is the top line from the latest Suffolk/USA Today poll, and it almost exactly mirrors the deadlocked result of the recent Monmouth poll (rated by FiveThirtyEight as B+ and an A-rated pollster, respectively, each with a slight Democratic bias). All tied up:


This is a state in which Joe Biden won handily a year ago, carrying Virginia by ten points. As Biden rolled into one of the bluest areas of Northern Virginia for McAuliffe yesterday, he found himself 11 points underwater (41/52) on job approval among Old Dominion voters, per the Suffolk/USA Today findings. And in a race in which education has become front and center, this data point helps illustrate why Youngkin has surged, and why McAuliffe suddenly changed course from dismissive and doubling down to actively defensive: 

Independents side against McAuliffe's infamous anti-parents statement (echoed in the Washington Post and cheered by anti-child union boss Randi Weingarten just this week) by a 25-point margin. Overall, independents are breaking for Youngkin by 11 points (44/33), with a substantial 14 percent still undecided (compared to just five percent of the overall electorate undecided). The crosstab numbers also show an absolutely enormous gender gap – so huge, I'm not sure I buy it – of more than 50 points. McAuliffe leads with women by 26; Younkin is up with men by the same margin. White Virginia voters are going for Youngkin by 18 points, while black voters heavily prefer McAuliffe (81/8). There's a reason why the McAuliffe campaign has enlisted the help of a parade of prominent black surrogates over the last few weeks, from Barack Obama to Stacey Abrams to Kamala Harris. They believe that if they can boost African-American turnout and hit their marks within that demographic, the margins they'll rack up will overcome some of their other struggles. The Suffolk/USA Today poll reinforces that belief: "If Black voters make up more than 20% of the voting electorate, McAuliffe will prevail," the outfit's polling director said. "But if the Black vote is only 16%-18% of the total votes cast, Youngkin will be governor."

He added an "insight" that is both insipid and true: "It's down to turnout." Youngkin needs GOP participation to be really robust, for indies to keep siding with him, for late-deciders to go his way, and for Democratic turnout to be relatively soft. That's how the blue-hued purple state could vote red next week. Democrats feel like they can just turn out their people and be fine. McAuliffe is tripling down on his "racist dog whistles" attack as the campaign concludes, and Youngkin is calling him out for flat-out mendacity. Even the Washington Post has dinged McAuliffe for falsehoods on "book bans" and COVID statistics. And as Team Youngkin points out, the allegedly "racist" position McAuliffe laments was based on bipartisan legislation supported by more than a few Democratic Black Caucus members: 


Are they racists, Terry? Inquiring minds must know. I'll leave you with a video from the Republican Governors Association tying McAuliffe to the unpopular sitting president, as well as an update from the ghastly story in Loudoun County we've been following: 


UPDATE - Another poll, another tie:

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