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Polls Show Terry McAuliffe's Lead in Virginia Gubernatorial Race is Slim at Best

AP Photo/Steve Helber, File

The governor's race in Virginia is statistically tied, according to a co/efficient poll shared with The Hill. As Celine Castronuovo reported for the outlet, 47 percent of of likely Virginia voters say they would vote for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, while 45 percent say they would vote for Republican Glenn Youngkin. "Roughly 8 percent of likely voters said they were still undecided on their choice," Castronuovo also noted. 


The poll was conducted August 8-9, with 1,200 likely general election voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Another poll, this one conducted by the Trafalgar Group last month, showed McAuliffe with a slim lead, with 46.8 percent of likely voters saying they'd likely vote for him and 45 percent saying they'd likely vote for Youngkin.

The poll was conducted July 8-10 with 1,104 likely general election voters and a margin of error of 2.87 percent.

In reporting on another co/efficient poll, Emily Brooks for The Washington Examiner pointed out that "Virginia poll shows McAuliffe up over Youngkin but comes with warning signs." 

McAuliffe's lead was wider in such a poll, conducted July 25-27 with 762 likely general election voters. He enjoyed 45 percent supported, compared to Youngkin's 40 percent support. Liberation candidate Princess Blanding had 2 percent support, while 13 percent were undecided.


This lead was slightly more than the margin of error, which was 3.55 percent. 

However, as Brooks wrote:

Despite holding the lead, a worrying sign for McAuliffe could be how the voters in the poll feel about President Joe Biden. Virginia’s off-year election schedule often makes the gubernatorial race a test of how voters feel about the party who holds the White House and a preview of what might come in the midterm elections. 

Biden had 47% approval among likely Virginia voters, and 46% disapproved, while 8% were unsure. 

And voters do not approve of the direction of the state, according to the polls. While 35% of voters said things in Virginia are headed in the right direction, 47% said things have gone off the wrong track. That’s another downside for McAuliffe, who is hoping to cement Democratic control of the state. Republicans have not won a statewide race in the state since 2009.

Virginia may be considered by some to be a blue state, but McAuliffe's lead is slim, at best, especially when the margin of error is factored in. 


Inside Elections considers the race to be "Likely Democratic," which, according to Ballotpedia means "one party has a clear edge, but an upset is possible." The Cook Political Report and Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball consider the race to be "Lean Democratic," which means "one party has a small edge, but the race is competitive."

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