Virginia Gubernatorial Update: Youngkin Spends on More Down-Ballot Races, Competing Ads on Crime, Two New Polls Released


Glenn Youngkin is touting a third wave of funding from his down-ballot-focused Virginia Wins PAC, which has supported 73 candidates and disbursed almost $250,000, according to a Youngkin press release. The funding has gone to candidates for the General Assembly, local boards of supervisors, city councils, and Commonwealth’s attorney.

With Virginia Wins, we will bring an entire crop of leaders to take back our Commonwealth and support conservative solutions so that when I’m governor we can deliver strong results for the people of Virginia,” Youngkin said in the release. “Republicans in my beloved home state have been overwhelmed by outside money from George Soros and others backing left-liberal candidates. So now we’re fighting back and investing in building our team for the long haul. Together, we can elect a wave of Republicans, bring common-sense values back to our school boards and city councils, and begin the work of making Virginia the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family.”

McAuliffe, Youngkin Ads Attack Each Other on Crime

Youngkin took early ground in the ad game, but McAuliffe has since entered the field. This week, the two candidates traded blows with new ads.

“How can [McAuliffe] keep us safe? His record as governor? Murder jumped 43 percent, and now he refuses to even meet with Virginia police officers, instead, he’s touting endorsements by extreme left-wing groups that want to defund the police, abolish ICE and close prisons,” a Youngkin ad announced Monday states.

Later in the week, McAuliffe released his own ad featuring law enforcement officials from across Virginia. “When Terry McAuliffe was governor, Virginia was the fourth-safest state in America,” the ad states. “Terry increased funding and training for police. It’s Glenn Youngkin who worries us. Glenn Youngkin wants to roll back gun safety laws including background checks, letting violent criminals have more access to guns, putting our lives at risk.”

New Polls Released Friday

Two schools announced polls Friday, although the methodology of both polls concerned elections watchers.

A Roanoke College poll found that McAuliffe is leading Youngkin 46-38 percent, with Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) leading Winsome Sears 42-36 percent in the lieutenant governor race, and Attorney General Mark Herring leading Jason Miyares 45-37 percent, with a 4.2 percent margin of error.

While one would always prefer to be ahead than behind, the news is not all rosy for McAuliffe,” said Dr. Harry Wilson, senior political analyst for the Roanoke College Poll. “Both candidates are above water in terms of favorable ratings, and each can improve on those numbers, or they may decline due to the percentage of voters who are at least somewhat unfamiliar with them.”

Another poll has gubernatorial candidates Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe practically neck-and-neck. McAuliffe is preferred by 40 percent of likely voters, and Youngkin is preferred by 37 percent of likely voters, within the margin of error of 5.23 percentage points of the poll from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Wilder School of Government and Affairs.

“As of this survey, there have been no debates between the candidates for governor or lieutenant governor,” former Governor L. Douglas Wilder said in a press release. “That could change once positions are taken on the issues. The lieutenant governor’s race showing the largest difference (Ayala 39 percent, Sears 31 percent) could also be affected. The attorney general race has 19 percent of the voters unwilling to vote for either candidate added to the 10 percent undecided leaves one-third of the voters who could tighten that contest.”

The Roanoke College survey of 558 likely Virginia voters was conducted between August 3 and August 17. The VCU survey was conducted by phone August 4-15, and 823 adult Virginians were surveyed, although the press release says the results reflect preferences of likely voters. Wilder has criticized McAuliffe for running for a second term.

FiveThirtyEight Elections Analyst Geoffrey Skelley contrasted VCU’s polling of adult Virginians with its claim about likely voters. He criticized the inclusion of a “neither of these” choice.

If someone is going to pick a third party, let them volunteer it,” Skelley tweeted.

Republican pollster Chris Wilson blasted the Roanoke poll, criticizing the two weeks spent polling, methodology used in selecting phone numbers to poll, and weighting of the results.

This poll strains credulity and should not be taken seriously,” he tweeted.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photos “Terry McAuliffe” by Terry McAuliffe (CC BY-SA 2.0), “Glenn Youngkin” by Glenn Youngkin (CC BY-SA 2.0), and “Virginia State Capitol” by Will Weaver (CC BY-SA 2.0).




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