Democrats are facing an uphill battle less than one week before voters elect the next governor of Virginia, according to recent polling.
Former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe is running to win back his old seat in the governor’s mansion, facing off against Trump-endorsed Republican Glenn Youngkin, a businessman who has never held elected office.
Democrats expected this election to be a cakewalk for Terry McAuliffe, who has benefitted from high name recognition as a former governor in a state won by Joe Biden by nearly ten points in 2020. However, recent polling suggests that this is no longer the case.
At the beginning of September, the RealClearPolitics average showed McAuliffe ahead of Youngkin by at least six points. Joe Biden’s average approval rating at the time was 46 percent or higher across the country.
However, both Democrats’ favorability has plummeted in recent weeks. Biden’s average approval has dropped below 42 percent across the country. In Virginia, 41 percent of residents approve of Biden, and 54 percent do not, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University poll.
McAuliffe’s lead over Youngkin has simultaneously dropped. Currently, both candidates are virtually tied. The RealClearPolitics average has McAuliffe ahead of Youngkin by less than one percent, easily within the margin of error.
While polling has been incorrect in past elections, as proven by Donald Trump’s decisive victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, Virginia’s polling averages were incredibly close to the state’s actual election results. According to surveys, Biden was ahead of Trump by roughly 11 percent. On election night, Biden won the state by less than ten points.
Should polling averages shift in favor of Republicans by the margin that it did in last year’s presidential race, Glenn Youngkin will become the next governor of Virginia. Because this election could be a toss-up, Democrats Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, and Stacey Abrams have all held rallies in the state to increase voter turnout from its base which is not eager about McAuliffe.
Former Democrat Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, the first black governor of the state, blasted McAuliffe in an interview with ABC 7 News over his defense of Gov. Ralph Northam’s, D-Va., yearbook photo where he is pictured wearing either black face or a Ku Klux Klan outfit. McAuliffe will not confirm which outfit he wore.
“Terry McAuliffe has used it as a springboard to come back. He called on all of them to resign from office,” said Wilder.
He continued, “A simple apology wouldn’t be enough for him then because it wouldn’t be a springboard for him to come back. And who did he call to step down? The Lt. Governor who was black. All the people he ran against for governor for the most part in the Democratic Party were black. Is he saying that he’s come back to rescue black people? Or to speak for black people? I think you know the answer to that is no.”
Wilder also bashed McAuliffe and Northam for not funding historically black colleges when given the chance.
“And if you had an opportunity to do it and haven’t done it, there’s a reason for it,” Wilder added. “Terry McAuliffe has had an opportunity to do it. He hasn’t done it as it relates to historical black colleges and universities. Ralph Northam has an opportunity now to do it.”
He continued, “So we need funding for historical black colleges and universities and Glenn Youngkin indicated he’s going to support that. And yet it’s not being supported today by Northam. We had $4.3 billion set aside from the monies provided by the federal government. Not a dime. Not a dime of that money has been allocated for historical black colleges universities.”
While McAuliffe’s campaign is riddled with controversy and scandals, Youngkin is becoming an increasingly viable alternative to Virginia voters with his common sense take on education and the economy.
Virginia’s gubernatorial race will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Stay tuned to RSBN for election night coverage.