CNU/Wason Center Poll: Virginia GOP Statewide Candidates Making Gains Among Independents

Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe
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A new Christopher Newport University Wason Center poll released Friday found GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin slightly behind Terry McAuliffe, 49 percent to 45 percent, which is nearly in line with the Real Clear Politics current polling average placing McAuliffe ahead by 3.5 percentage points. Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding got one percent, with five percent undecided.

The poll also included the lieutenant governor’s race, which hasn’t seen as much polling, and found that Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) leads GOP candidate Winsome Sears 48 percent to 44 percent.

“With voting underway, Democrats hold small but narrowing leads in Virginia’s statewide races, according to our survey of likely voters in the Nov. 2 general election. Since we polled these races in late August, Democratic leads have shrunk, and the contests for governor and lieutenant governor now stand within this survey’s margin of error (+/- 4.2 percent),” poll analysis states. “Independent voters have moved significantly toward all three Republican candidates. Republican voters are more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats, with 61 percent of Republican likely voters indicating they are very enthusiastic compared to 55 percent of Democrats.”

In late August, a Wason Center poll found Ayala ahead by 10 points; according to the new poll, Sears made ten points of gains among independents and Ayala lost ground. Both candidates also lost ground among their bases.

The poll found a similar tightening in the attorney general race, with Attorney General Mark Herring leading Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) 49 percent to 43 percent. Miyares made gains among independents while Herring lost support among independents.

The Wason Center polled 802 likely voters from September 27 through October 6. The Center also polled abortion, and found that 61 percent of likely voters support protecting access to abortion, while 30 percent support making abortion access more difficult. 55 percent oppose a fetal heartbeat abortion ban at six weeks, while 36 percent of voters support a potential ban.

In a recent debate, Youngkin indicated he would support a pain threshold abortion bill. Although he didn’t detail when the ban would start, often those bans start at 20 weeks.

“The abortion issue has been tricky for Youngkin,” Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo said in the press release. “Trying to navigate between moderate voters who oppose further restrictions while simultaneously appealing to the Republican base who would like a strong pro-life stance, Youngkin has said he would not have voted for the Texas law, but he’s been unclear about how far he would go to restrict abortions in Virginia.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Glenn Youngkin” by Glenn Youngkin.

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