Pollsters’ Final Shifts Reflect Increased Odds of Virginia Republican Gubernatorial Win


In final ratings changes before the election, multiple analysts shifted their gubernatorial race ratings in favor of Republicans, partly due to a preference from some organizations to avoid ending on a toss-up rating. The Crystal Ball shifted from Lean Democratic to Lean Republican. Inside Elections shifted from Tilt Democratic to toss-up. CNalysis switched from toss-up to Tilt Republican. That’s significant since up until now, most analysts have either rated the race a tie or with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in the lead.

“This Virginia gubernatorial race is one of the most vexing races we can remember,” The Crystal Ball said. “Terry McAuliffe (D) retains the advantage of running in a state that is clearly trending Democratic. But Glenn Youngkin (R) has many significant advantages of his own, which may outweigh Virginia’s Democratic lean.”

“Considering Joe Biden’s 10-point victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, and general Democratic success in Virginia over the last four years, there are Democratic voters available to put former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe over the top,” Inside Elections said. “But rather than McAuliffe opening up a clear advantage in the final days as Democrats woke up to the threat of a Republican victory, the race has been trending toward Republicans.”

Youngkin’s lead is also reflected in some last-minute polls, leading to a Real Clear Politics polling average lead for Youngkin of 1.7 percent. A Fox 5 /Insider Advantage poll of 500 likely voters found GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin with 47 percent, ahead of Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, who got 45 percent. Princess Blanding got two percent support, and 6 percent was undecided. The poll was conducted October 27 through 30, and had a 4.4 percent margin of error.

A poll from the Republican-friendly Trafalgar Group found Youngkin ahead 49.4 percent to McAuliffe’s 47.1 percent, with 1.9 percent support for “Third Party/Write-In.” The poll has a three percent margin of error. Trafalgar conducted the poll from October 29 through October 31 among 1081 likely voters.

CNalysis’ final ratings reflect a split ticket, with the lieutenant governor’s race Tilt Democrat and the attorney general race at a stronger Lean Democrat.

“In Virginia elections, the statewide election results have one party winning all three contests, but we don’t think that is going to be the case this year. The Winsome Sears campaign has done a poor job of elevating the former Delegate’s name recognition and is expected to lag behind Youngkin as a result,” CNalysis said. “The race that Democrats are most likely to win is the one for Attorney General, where two-term incumbent Democrat Mark Herring is running for a third term against Virginia Beach Republican Jason Miyares, Delegate from the 82nd district. Republicans have been quite bullish on this race, which is odd considering that polling has shown this to be the most likely race Democrats win.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].






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