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Poll: Is Biden’s Approval Rating Affecting Democrat’s Gubernatorial Prospects?

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Posted: Oct 18, 2021 4:15 PM
Poll: Is Biden’s Approval Rating Affecting Democrat’s Gubernatorial Prospects?

Source: AP Photo/Steve Helber

In the coming weeks, both Virginia and New Jersey will have their gubernatorial election. President Biden won both states in the 2020 presidential election. However, Biden's approval rating has declined in recent months, which could influence the outcome of the governor's races in both states. A recent poll shows how much Biden's approval rating is affecting the polling numbers of the Democratic candidates in the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia.

A poll published Sunday, conducted by The Hill's polling firm Schoen-Cooperman Research, shows that Biden's tanking approval rating correlates to diminishing support for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey. 

In the results, Virginia gubernatorial candidate, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, is beating his Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin by four points, 47 percent to 43 percent. In New Jersey, Democrat and incumbent candidate Gov. Phil Murphy is beating his Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli, 50 percent to 41 percent. 

"Though Biden won both states by double-digits in 2020, our data indicates that the president's declining ratings — brought on by his stalled domestic agenda, the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the southern border crisis and the unchecked surge of progressivism — have demonstrably weakened Democrats in both races," the poll write-up reads.

The poll write-up also notes that the correlation between Biden's declining approval numbers is more "pronounced" in Virginia, "where a direct line can be drawn from Biden's declining ratings to McAuliffe's tenuous lead." It notes that in August, McAuliffe was beating Youngkin by eight or nine points. The race has tightened since then.

"Furthermore, our poll found that, among those who say they are absolutely certain to vote, McAuliffe's lead completely dissipates, and the race is tied at 47 percent. Notably, these voters disapprove of President Biden by an 11 point margin," the write-up explains. "And in the horserace among those who vote in all gubernatorial elections, Youngkin leads, garnering 49 percent of the vote compared to McAuliffe's 45 percent. President Biden's approval rating is also underwater with these voters, who disapprove of him by a 14 point margin."

In the New Jersey gubernatorial election, Murphy is likely to win reelection, according to the poll, though his numbers have dropped steadily since Biden's approval rating plummeted. In August, the write-up notes that a Monmouth University poll showed Murphy leading by 16 points. A month later, the same pollster recorded Murphy leading by 13 points. In Schoen-Cooperman Research's recent poll, Murphy is leading by nine points.

According to Gallup, Biden's approval rating has dropped steadily since summer. Now, it stands at 43 percent. Vice President Harris' approval rating is recorded at 49 percent.

"While Murphy may be better-positioned for an eventual win than McAuliffe, these trends are significant, and cannot be ignored by Democrats," the write-up concludes. "In other words, Democrats need to find a way to come together on a moderate and inclusive agenda that centers on unity, greater fiscal responsibility, responsible tax policies, and growing the economy for all."

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