Youngkin Takes Slight Lead in New Virginia Gubernatorial Poll

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks in McLean, Va., July 14, 2021.
(Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The Trafalgar Group has released a poll showing Republican Glenn Youngkin with a one point advantage (48.4-47.5 percent) over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial race.

The survey of 1,095 voters conducted between October 11 and 13 has a margin of error of three points, and indicates that three percent of Virginia voters are undecided in the contest.

On the other hand, Fox News’ newest poll of 1,004 voters conducted between October 10 and 13 and McAuliffe with a five point lead over Youngkin (51-46 percent). Fox’s offering has a margin of error of 3.5 points, with, again, three percent of voters calling themselves undecided.

Both campaigns can put forward narratives to support their preferred vision of the race, with the ongoing school board-driven controversy in Loudoun County bolstering Youngkin’s messaging about returning educational control to parents, and a controversial rally featuring a flag used during the January 6 Capitol riot helping McAuliffe tie his opponent to Donald Trump.

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Youngkin, however, did not actually attend the rally in question, condemned the use of the flag as “weird and wrong,” and restated his opinion that the events of January 6 were “sickening.”

Moreover, the overall trajectory of the race would suggest that Youngkin may hold the momentum. McAuliffe held a 4.3 point lead on August 15, a 3.7 point lead on September 15, and a 2.9 point lead on Friday, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling average.

Trafalgar’s poll also provided evidence that education continues to be a major factor in Virginians’ voting decision, to Youngkin’s benefit. 54.4 percent disagreed with McAuliffe’s declaration during a debate last month that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Only 37.1 percent agreed.

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