Private Republican polling in Virginia suggests GOP ticket poised to sweep
Republican Glenn Youngkin led Democrat Terry McAuliffe in an internal Republican Governors Association poll conducted early this month, putting the GOP on the precipice of winning a major statewide race in Virginia for the first time in a dozen years.
Youngkin led McAuliffe, the former governor in search of a comeback, by a narrow 3 percentage points with a month to go in this key off-year campaign. But Youngkin was losing to McAuliffe by 11 points in RGA polling from May, and the trend line suggests to Republican operatives working the race that the GOP is on track to win the contests for lieutenant governor and attorney general and, possibly, to recapture the Virginia General Assembly.
Why is McAuliffe and the Democratic ticket in trouble in a blue state that chose President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump by more than 10 points just one year ago? Republicans reviewing the data blame Biden and his sinking job approval ratings, especially with independents and suburban men, although Youngkin advisers say the quality of GOP nominee combined with McAuliffe’s missteps deserve equal credit for the potential Democratic collapse.
“Terry McAuliffe is running on issues no one is talking about and against a candidate that’s not on the ballot,” Youngkin campaign senior strategist Jeff Roe said, referring to the Democrat’s attempt to convince voters that the Republican is a Trump clone.
“There are 20 days to go, but every fundamental measurement in this race is breaking our way, and the Democrats know it because Glenn is a generational talent with a positive vision for the commonwealth,” Roe added.
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McAuliffe, 64, was termed out of the governor’s mansion in 2017 because the Virginia Constitution prohibits chief executives from serving consecutive terms.
The former governor was favored in his bid for a second stint in Richmond at the outset of the campaign and held leads of 5 points or less in the four most recent public opinion polls. But McAuliffe’s lead in the RealClearPolitics average is down to 3.5 points, and the Democratic nominee has openly complained that Biden’s diminished political standing, and other problems Democrats are having in Washington, is damaging him in Virginia.
With early voting and absentee voting underway for the Nov. 2 election, Democratic insiders readily concede McAuliffe is in a dog fight and emphasize that it is imperative Democratic activists work hard for the party’s ticket and that Democratic voters show up and pull the lever. But Democrats contend that the former governor is poised to defeat Youngkin, arguing the biggest so-called problem he is facing is the narrative of unrealistic expectations.
“The perception that Virginia had somehow become a blueish state was never espoused by Democrats who work in Virginia. The electorate is a lot swingier than people give it credit for,” said David Turner, spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association. “Democrats should be treating this as a close race — because it is.”
The Republican pollster for the RGA in Virginia is On Message Inc. In 2020, the firm picked up on the tightening of the presidential race in Arizona, where Biden bested Trump by a paper-thin margin and proved more accurate than some of the public polling in Florida, where the former president won by 3.3 points.
In the polling group’s early October poll of the Youngkin-McAuliffe race, the Republican nominee was hitting margins in key battlegrounds that, if they hold, will make it very difficult for his Democratic opponent to win statewide. Those margins included Youngkin at 43% in the Northern Virginia region that encompasses metro Washington and 53% in the Richmond suburbs of Chesterfield and Henrico counties.
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Additionally, Biden is underwater with independents statewide, with 61% of this key bloc holding an unfavorable view of the president. Suburban swing voters, who entered the summer feeling the beginnings of “buyer’s remorse” in regard to their vote for Biden, reached full-scale disappointment amid the president’s much-criticized leadership of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan, Republican operatives who have studied the GOP polling data say.
A big Republican victory in Virginia next month could set the stage for the GOP to recapture majorities in Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
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Tags: News, Campaigns, 2022 Elections, Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, Terry McAuliffe, Joe Biden, Donald Trump
Original Author: David M. Drucker
Original Location: Private Republican polling in Virginia suggests GOP ticket poised to sweep