Virginia Gubernatorial Race Has Tightened to a Dead Heat, New Poll Finds

Left: Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks during a campaign event in McLean, Va., July 14, 2021. Right: Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe participates in a campaign event at Lubber Run Park in Arlington, Va., July 23, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The Virginia gubernatorial race between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe has tightened into a dead heat, according to a new poll released by Monmouth on Wednesday.

According to the poll, conducted between October 16 and 19, the two candidates are tied among registered voters (46-46 percent), with different turnout models predicting anything from a three point Youngkin win to a three point McAuliffe win.

The survey indicates that Youngkin has made massive gains with both independents and women over the past month. In September, Monmouth showed McAuliffe up nine points with the former group and 14 with the latter. Now, Youngkin holds a nine point lead with independents and has shaved ten points off of McAuliffe’s lead with female voters.

Youngkin’s emphasis on education, as well as myriad missteps from the McAuliffe campaign have no doubt played an enormous role in Youngkin’s surge. While 31 percent of voters said in September that education was the first or second most important issue to them, 41 percent said the same in October.

Youngkin has responded to a controversy in Loudoun County by rolling out a new plan for ensuring students’ safety in schools around the state and continuing to hammer McAuliffe for saying he doesn’t “think parents should be telling schools what to teach” in a debate held late last month.

McAuliffe defended that opinion numerous times before eventually claiming that his words were being taken out of context. The Democratic nominee also prematurely walked out of an interview that aired on Tuesday, chiding his questioner for grilling him on education, telling the reporter that he “should have asked questions your viewers care about.”

President Joe Biden’s approval rating is underwater by nine points, per Monmouth, but the McAuliffe campaign is still eagerly promoting a campaign event at which Vice President Kamala Harris will join him on Thursday.

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