Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is ahead of Glenn Youngkin (R) by four points in Virginia’s gubernatorial race taking place in November, according to a poll released Sunday.
JMC Analytics conducted the poll June 9–12, making it the first public poll to occur since both candidates secured their nominations; McAuliffe won the Democrat primary June 8, while Youngkin clinched his nomination more than a month ago. The two are now competing to replace outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is term-limited and cannot seek reelection.
While McAuliffe in the poll has 46 percent support to Youngkin’s 42 percent, the margin of error is 4.2 percent, which places the candidates in a statistical tie. Twelve percent remain undecided.
The poll is certain to encourage Republicans, who have struggled for representation in the Old Dominion in recent years. The party has not won a statewide race since 2009, and it suffered a stunning loss of its majority in both chambers of the state legislature in 2019. President Joe Biden also carried Virginia by about ten points in 2020.
“There are noticeable signs of underperformance relative to President Biden’s 2020 race,” JMC Analytics observes.
According to the poll, Biden’s strongest performance occurred in the Washington, DC, metro area, where he finished ahead of former President Donald Trump by 29 points. The poll shows McAuliffe’s lead in that region, however, to be 18 points.
Biden also outshines McAuliffe in the poll among college graduate voters and independent voters. Biden led college graduate voters by 23 points, whereas McAuliffe leads by six points. Similarly, while Biden had a one percent lead over Trump among independent voters, McAuliffe actually trails Youngkin by six points, 37 percent to 43 percent.
“Patterns of support similar [to] McAuliffe’s are seen in the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General’s races, where Democrats similarly have plurality leads,” JMC Analytics notes of the other two statewide races, also adding that “this (compared to Biden) weakened performance is even more noticeable in a generic ballot question about House of Delegates races.”
A conservative polling firm, WPA Intelligence, recently found the governor’s race to be even tighter. That poll, conducted just prior to McAuliffe’s primary win, June 2–6, showed McAuliffe leading Youngkin by two points, 48 percent to 46 percent with five percent undecided.
Democrat blog Blue Virginia posted about the two polls, concluding, “Anyway, the bottom line is that we should just assume this race will be close and act accordingly … make sure we don’t turn this state over to a bunch of Trump Republicans who will work to undo all the progress we’ve made the past couple years in Virginia!”
The JMC Analytics poll was conducted among 550 likely voters via text message and landline.
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