McAuliffe’s lead over Youngkin shrinks in governor’s race according to new poll numbers

Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin (right) at the Virginia's second gubernatorial debate...
Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin (right) at the Virginia's second gubernatorial debate (File Photo)(WVIR)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 2:12 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is now leading slightly in the polls over Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin in the race for Virginia’s next governor.

A poll released by the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University reports that McAuliffe is a likely candidate among voters by 49% to 45%, including the survey’s 4.2% margin error. His lead has slipped 5 points since the center’s last poll in August.

Third-party candidate Princess Blanding is only on the polls with 1% and 5% of voters remain undecided.

McAuliffe’s support mainly comes from women (50%), Black voters (86%) those younger than 44-years-old (55%) and residents in the northern Virginia region (59%). Independent voters have shifted significantly from McAuliffe to Youngkin, gaining 11 points of potential voters.

Youngkin’s voting demographics are mainly white (58%), male (48%) voters from the South/Southwest region (57%). He is maintaining 90% of his Republican base.

Attorney General Mark Herring seeking his third term in office leads Republican Jason Miyares, 49% to 43%, with 7% undecided and for lieutenant governor, Democrat Hala Ayala leads Republican Winsome Sears, 48% to 44%, 8% undecided.

Overall Democrats hold “small but narrowing leads in Virginia’s statewide races,” according to the poll’s analysis.

The poll also surveyed voters on hot button issues within the governor’s debates such as abortion. According to the Wason Center, 61% of potential voters support laws to protect women’s access to abortion, 30% support making it more difficult. 55% of voters oppose a law banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is protected around six weeks, 36% support a possible law.

“The abortion issue has been tricky for Youngkin,” said Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo. “Trying to navigate between moderate voters who oppose further restrictions while simultaneously appealing to the Republican base who would like a strong pro-life stance.”

Youngkin has said he would not have voted for the Texas law banning abortions past 6 weeks of gestation, but it is unclear how far he would go to restrict abortions in Virginia.

McAuliffe says that a law like Texas’ in Virginia would be threatening to women’s health and threaten the state’s “open and welcoming” business climate, according to his campaign website. He says the state’s law on the subject is “good as it is” but would like to include Roe v Wade in the state Consitution in case the Supreme Court decides to strike it down.

Early voting is currently underway in Virginia and the last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 12. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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