Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are in a close contest to become the next governor of Virginia, according to a new Emerson College and Nexstar Media poll.
The poll, in line with other recent surveys, shows a tightening race between the major party candidates: McAuliffe received 49% among likely voters to 48% for Youngkin. Just 2% of voters said they were undecided and 1% said they plan to vote for someone else. Princess Blanding also is on the ballot.
The survey, conducted Oct. 1-3, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
The poll found McAuliffe is leading in support among female and Black voters, while Youngkin leads among men and white and Hispanic voters. Among suburban voters Youngkin received 49% to 48% for McAuliffe.
Youngkin is vying to become the first Republican elected statewide since 2009. McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, came into the race with the advantages of an incumbent in name recognition and in the state’s trend toward Democrats in recent election cycles.
Virginia’s race for governor and the fight for control of the House of Delegates have become increasingly competitive as Democrats grapple with their party’s struggles in Washington. Wednesday’s poll found that less than a year after he beat President Donald Trump in Virginia by 10 percentage points, President Joe Biden’s job approval rating in the state is 45%, while 48% disapprove of his performance.
McAuliffe acknowledged as much in a Zoom call with supporters, a clip circulated by Republican operatives late Tuesday.
“We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington as you know,” McAuliffe said. “The president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we’ve got to plow through,” McAuliffe said.
In a statement addressing the clip, the McAuliffe campaign said: “Terry’s point was clearly that Democrats can’t take anything for granted and must turn out to vote this year: Glenn Youngkin is running on a divisive, Trumpian agenda that puts election conspiracy theories and banning abortion first.”
The survey also found a close contest for attorney general. Incumbent Mark Herring, a Democrat, received 46% to 44% for Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach.