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by Brandon Jarvis

In a poll of likely Virginia voters from CNU’s Wason Center and AARP, Democratic candidates up and down the ticket are showing commanding leads with 22 days until early voting begins across the commonwealth.

Conducted between August 15 and August 23, 50% of respondents to the poll said that they are leaning towards voting for the Democratic nominee, Terry McAuliffe, in the gubernatorial race. 41% of respondents indicated that they are leaning towards Youngkin, 3% said they are leaning towards third-party nominee Princess Blanding, and 6% of respondents were undecided. 

McAuliffe built a lead among women (55% to 36%) and younger voters (52% to 34%), while Youngkin has 95% support from the Republican base. Youngkin’s numbers are the highest in South/Southwestern Virginia (53% to 37%), but McAuliffe was more liked in Northern Virginia (59% to 33%), metro-Richmond, (48% to 40%) and the Hampton Roads (52% to 41%).

“These numbers reflect a state that continues to trend blue in presidential and statewide elections as demographic shifts endure in the Commonwealth,” said Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo. “While there is still room for movement in the race, Youngkin has a tightrope to walk between Trump supporters and more moderate voters across the suburbs of Virginia.”

Additionally, the Democratic nominee Hala Ayala leads her Republican opponent Winsome Sears 52-42%.

Ayala’s lead comes from younger voters (57% to 35%), Black voters (84% to 6%) and women (55% to 38%). Sears holds the Republican base (95%), voters in the South/Southwest region (54% to 37%), and a slim 51% to 44% majority of white voters.

Democratic attorney general nominee Mark Herring holds a 53%-41% lead over his Republican opponent, Jason Miyares. Herring, who is seeking a third term as attorney general, is outperforming both McAuliffe and Ayala with women, Black voters, and younger voters. 

Democrats hold a seven-point advantage on the generic ballot test, which asks voters if they will cast their vote for the Republican or Democratic Party’s House of Delegates candidate in the Nov. 2 election.

Virginia is split into 100 House districts, however, making that much more complicated to gauge. Virginia elected a Democratic governor in 2013 and 2017, but the Republicans still held the majority in the House of Delegates until 2019.

The Democrats now hold a five-seat majority after flipping 21 seats between 2017 and 2019.

Republicans have not won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009 when Bob McDonnell won the Executive Mansion. McAuliffe squeaked out a victory over hard-right conservative Ken Cuccinelli in 2013 and Ralph Northam rode the anti-Trump blue wave in 2017 to an easy nine-point victory.

Polls so far have shown a closer race, ranging between a three and seven-point lead for McAuliffe. This latest data from CNU shows that McAuliffe is potentially hitting a stride in his campaign at the time when Virginians start paying closer attention to the race. 

Early voting begins Sept. 17 for the Nov. 2 election. 


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