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Poll: McAuliffe leads Youngkin in Virginia governor race

virginia election
(© iQoncept –

A new VCU poll has Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a nine-point lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia governor race.

The poll had McAuliffe at 43 percent, Youngkin at 34 percent, and had 23 percent undecided, meaning, there’s lots of room for movement between now and Election Day.

Down ticket, Democrat Haya Ayala has a three-point lead on Republican Winsome Sears in the lieutenant governor race, with 36 percent still out there, and two-term Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring has a six-point lead on GOP nominee Jason Miyares, with 28 percent of the vote unsettled.

“Our recent poll relative to the governor’s race and statewide elections showed interesting results,” former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said. “Neither McAuliffe nor Youngkin had 50 percent support. The increase in the undecided and those unable to commit for either is noteworthy. The poll was taken prior to any debates. How the candidates show the people what they propose dealing with the pandemic and its effects are obvious concerns. The narrowing of the lead by the Democratic candidates in the lieutenant governor and attorney general races and increased ‘undecided’ shows ‘the jury’ may be out awhile longer.”

Poll respondents were also asked which party they would rather see in control of the Virginia General Assembly. All 100 House of Delegates seats are up for election in November, with Democrats currently holding a 55-45 advantage.

Voters remained split on which party they preferred to control the chamber. Democrats had a slight edge over Republicans (43 percent vs. 39 percent, respectively), with 5 percent of voters undecided – the rest, ostensibly, not caring.

In the gubernatorial race, Northern Virginia continued to favor McAuliffe (56 percent to 23 percent) as did the Tidewater region (41 percent to 31 percent). Youngkin leads in the west (49 percent to 23 percent). South Central Virginia showed a small preference for McAuliffe (41 percent to 37 percent), and the candidates were tied in the northwest region at 42 percent. The largest percentage of undecided voters was in the west (17 percent).

The lieutenant governor’s race has experienced some regional changes since August. Ayala maintained a sizeable lead in Northern Virginia (44 percent to 20 percent), but lost her lead in south central Virginia where results were within the margin of error (36 percent for Sears and 32 percent for Ayala). Sears widened her large lead in the western region of the state (41 percent to 21 percent), but lost her lead in the northwest, where voters were evenly split between Ayala and Sears (38 percent to 39 percent). Voters in the Tidewater region also remained evenly split, with 27 percent for Ayala and 26 percent for Sears.

In the attorney general race, Herring maintained his sizable lead in Northern Virginia (44 percent to 26 percent), and grew his lead in Tidewater (45 percent to 30 percent), where voters were nearly split last month. Herring lost much of his lead in the south central region (36 percent for Herring and 35 percent for Miyares), while Miyares led in the west (43 percent to 26 percent). Voters remained split in northwest Virginia (40 percent for Herring to 36 percent for Miyares).

President Joe Biden’s approval numbers have declined slightly since August, with 49 percent of Virginians saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job as president (up from 47 percent in August) and 46 percent saying that they approve (down from 51 percent). Uncertainty may play a role in this change, as 6 percent of respondents reported not knowing whether or not they approve, or choosing not to share their opinion (up from 2 percent).

For the full poll results and analysis, visit