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How Close Is the Virginia Governor's Race? Here's What a New Poll Is Showing

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Posted: Oct 15, 2021 5:30 PM
How Close Is the Virginia Governor's Race? Here's What a New Poll Is Showing

Source: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Virginia's upcoming gubernatorial election is just weeks away, with former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, up against his Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin. Though there's been no shortage of polls predicting the outcome of the election, a new survey published Thursday reaffirms that the race is going to be tight and neither candidate can afford to take their foot off the gas.

A Fox News poll published Thursday shows McAuliffe with a slim lead over Youngkin, with 51 percent of respondents favoring McAuliffe and 46 percent favoring Youngkin. A mere 3 percent of respondents said they are currently undecided.

Among black voters, McAuliffe is the preferred candidate by 63 points. He is also the preferred candidate among moderates by 36 points, suburban women by 17 points, and parents by 10 points. 

On the contrary, Youngkin is the choice among white evangelical Christians by 44 points, rural voters by 25 points, white voters who do not have a college degree by 25 points, white men by 12 points, and senior citizens by 8 points. 

Respondents were also asked their opinions on who they would like to see elected to Congress – Republicans or Democrats. The survey found that Virginia voters are 10 points more likely to approve of Congressional Democratic candidates (44 percent) than Republicans (34 percent). However, 52 percent of respondents disapprove of Congressional Democrats and 60 percent disapprove of Congressional Republicans.

The bipartisan survey, which was conducted from Oct. 10 to Oct. 13, was carried out by Beacon Research and Shaw & Company Research. Chris Anderson, the Democratic pollster who conducts it alongside Republican Daron Shaw, said that McAuliffe breaking 50 percent is "certainly significant," but he can't lose momentum just yet. 

"Breaking 50 percent is certainly significant for McAuliffe, but he's not in a position to set the cruise control," Anderson said to Fox News. "Youngkin supporters are somewhat more interested, which could energize a late surge and close the gap if McAuliffe backers become complacent or lack motivation to show up on Election Day."

On Biden's approval rating, the stats are nearly evenly split. Fifty percent approve and 49 percent disapprove. When asked their opinions on Biden "personally," 50 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove.

On the issues, the survey showed that the handling of the coronavirus pandemic is of utmost importance to voters. More voters think McAuliffe would do a better job at handling the pandemic (48 percent) and Youngkin (36 percent). On the economy, 43 percent of respondents favor Youngkin and 43 percent favor McAuliffe.

Under the joint direction of both Shaw and Anderson, the Fox News survey included 1,004 Virginia registered voters and 726 likely voters randomly selected from a statewide voter file. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 for the likely voter sample. 

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