Virginia Governor Poll Puts Terry McAuliffe in Razor-Thin Lead

Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a razor-thin lead over opponent Glenn Youngkin in the race for Virginia governor, according to a new poll.

According to the survey of likely voters by The Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University, McAuliffe holds a one-point lead against Youngkin—49 percent to 48 percent.

However, McAuliffe's lead is well within the survey's margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points meaning he and Youngkin are now in a virtual tie, with third party candidate Princess Blanding holding 1 percent of the vote, according to the poll.

McAuliffe's lead has narrowed since late August, when he was nine points ahead in polling by The Wason Center. That margin shrank to four points in early October.

 Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign event
Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign event at the University of Lynchburg on October 27, 2021 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The poll shows Republicans are far more enthusiastic about voting in the November 2 election than Democrats. Some 80 percent of Republican likely voters said they were "very enthusiastic" about voting in this election compared to 65 percent of Democrats, an advantage that has jumped nine points since the Wason Center's survey in early October.

"McAuliffe is facing strong headwinds in a state that has historically selected governors from the party not in the White House and with a Democratic president whose approval rating is underwater," said Wason Center research director Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo.

"Republican voters also appear hungrier for a win and increasingly see a chance to take a statewide race for the first time since 2009."

The latest survey results, released on Wednesday, also shows that Democrats in Virginia's other races are also holding on to shrinking leads with early voting underway and Election Day approaching.

Democrat Hala Ayala leads Republican opponent Winsome Sears by one point (49 percent to 48 percent) in the race for lieutenant governor. Attorney General Mark Herring, seeking a third term, is narrowly leading Republican Jason Miyares, 48 percent to 47 percent.

The polling found Independent voters continue to favor all three Republican candidates, while Democrats and Republicans were overwhelmingly backing their own party's candidates.

The survey also showed a gender gap emerging, with male voters shifting towards Republican candidates and women favoring Democrats. The poll results are based on 944 interviews of registered Virginia voters who are likely general election voters conducted between October 17 and 25.

President Joe Biden headed to Virginia on Tuesday in a bid to boost McAuliffe's campaign, despite his own decline in popularity following a wave of challenges in recent months.

Stumping for McAuliffe, who previously served as Virginia's governor between 2014 and 2018, Biden framed the race as a repudiation of his predecessor Donald Trump.

Youngkin "not only embraces someone with such a lack of character; he endorses Donald Trump's bad ideas and bad record," Biden said.