Poll: Independent Voters Leaning Toward Republican Candidates in Virginia’s Races

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin answers a question in a debate with former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce September 28, 2021 in Alexandria, Virginia. The gubernatorial election is November 2. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Independent voters in Virginia are moving toward Republican candidates as Election Day nears, a CNU survey released Friday found.

While early voting is underway, the latest survey found that independent voters have “moved significantly toward all three Republican candidates” in the various races across the state — the governor’s race, lieutenant governor’s race, and the attorney general race.

While Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Glenn Youngkin 49 percent to 45 percent, that reflects a major narrowing of a gap from August’s survey, where the Democrat led by nine points. Additionally, his current lead is within the survey’s margin of error.

Youngkin, however, has increased support among independents, jumping from 39 percent support to 50 percent since the latest survey. McAuliffe’s support among independents, however, has dropped, going from 44 percent to 41 percent.

There is a similar phenomenon in the lieutenant governor’s race between Democrat Del. Hala Ayala and former Republican Del. Winsome Sears, as well as the attorney general race between Democratic incumbent Mark Herring and Republican Del. Jason Miyares:

Since our August 26 poll, Sears has gained 10 points among Independents (from 40% to 50%), while Ayala’s support has dropped (from 49% to 41%). Both candidates have lost some ground among their base; Ayala currently has support from 88% of Democrats (compared to 95% previously), while Sears shows 87% support from Republicans (compared to 95%). Overall, Ayala’s support is driven primarily by voters age 44 and younger (55% to 41%), Black voters (85% to 5%) and women (50% to 40%), and an advantage in Northern Virginia (58%-35%). Sears’ strongest support comes from white voters (56% to 38%) and voters in the South/Southwest region (55% to 34%).

Seeking a third term as attorney general, Democratic incumbent Mark Herring leads Republican Del. Jason Miyares, 49% to 43%, with 7% undecided. This represents a 6-point tightening of the race since our August survey, which showed Herring leading 53%-41%. Miyares has increased his support 11 points over the last month among Independents (from 38% to 49%), while Herring has lost support among Independents (from 49% to 41%). Herring continues to have support among the conventional Democratic base of women (49% to 42%), Black voters (81% to 6%) and younger voters (53% to 42%). Miyares shows an advantage over Herring among white voters (56% to 40%) and voters in the South/Southwest region (54% to 37%).

The election takes place on November 2.

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