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Cook Political Report changes the Virginia gubernatorial race to a toss-up

The national election analysts at Cook Political Report are changing their rating for the gubernatorial race in Virginia to a toss-up. This comes as the latest polling shows McAuliffe with a slight lead overall but Republican enthusiasm surging.

From Cook Political Report:

(Jessica Taylor covers governor races for Cook Political)

“Polling has long reflected a competitive contest, but since August, the race has tightened considerably. At the beginning of August, FiveThirtyEight’s average gave McAuliffe a nearly 8-point advantage. Now, that’s down to just 3.3 points as of Thursday. There have been outlier polls on both sides that we don’t believe reflect where the race stands. A University of Mary Washington survey (Sept. 7-13, 528 LV) had some questionable weighting and gave Youngkin a five-point lead.

Similarly, last week, a Virginia Commonwealth University poll (Sept. 7-15, 731 LV) had McAuliffe leading Youngkin by nine, 43%-34%. It’s hard to fathom Youngkin is in the mid-30s and that there’s that sizable of an undecided bloc. Instead, the consensus is that most public and private polls peg the race where it likely is — a small, just at the margin of error or less, lead for McAuliffe. 

“Nonetheless, we can no longer say this is a contest where the Democrat the advantage. While many of the fundamentals favor McAuliffe — and we expect he still has a slight edge — it’s Youngkin who seems to have the enthusiasm on his side. That could change before November 2, much as it did in California in the closing weeks of the race. But Youngkin is far more difficult to make into a boogeyman than replacement frontrunner Larry Elder was, whose gaffes and comments were golden gifts for Gov. Gavin Newsom.

He’s far more Bob McDonnell than Ken Cuccinelli, but Democrats hope he’ll be more of an Ed Gillespie ultimately — a more establishment-type Republican who was forced into more conservative positions and tied to Trump as his undoing. This is why while we may put a pinkie on the scale for McAuliffe — and it’s far easier for Democrats in a state like Virginia to get the final few points they need than Republicans — the race is nonetheless close enough in our range to shift its rating. For now, Virginia Governor moves from Lean Democrat to Toss Up.”

Read the full report


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By vascope

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