A new Nexstar/Emerson College poll conducted at the beginning of October has GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin one point behind Democrat Terry McAuliffe, 48 percent to 49 percent. A Fox News poll conducted at the end of September found 48 percent support for McAuliffe and 44 percent support for Youngkin.
“The new poll by Emerson demonstrates clearly that all the momentum is on Glenn Youngkin’s side and he is poised to win this race in Virginia on November 2,” said John Fredricks, The Virginia Star’s publisher and radio talk show host.
Fredericks served as the 2016 and 2019 Trump Virginia chairman.
Although Youngkin has pivoted to appeal to moderates, he hasn’t alienated the Trump base, leaving Youngkin’s coalition intact. Republicans are testing post-Trump messaging in the Virginia races to prepare to target vulnerable House of Representatives Democrats in 2022.
CNalysis Director Chaz Nuttycombe said that the Emerson poll is an outlier, and he still rates the race Lean Democratic — if Youngkin does win, it will be by a thin margin.
“I don’t see [Emerson College’s] polls as high quality as something compared to, like say, Fox News, for example,” he said.
Nuttycombe said overall, current polling matches his understanding of the environment. Real Clear Politics currently has McAuliffe ahead by 4.3 points in a polling average.
Fredericks said that the Emerson poll is supported by low early voting turnout in Democratic strongholds.
“This does not bode well for Terry McAuliffe. There’s a huge enthusiasm gap. Joe Biden, as Terry McAuliffe admitted, is highly unpopular, and the polling now is showing that the challenger, if that’s what he is, the underdog, is closing the gap, he’s got all the momentum, and he’s going to win this race,” he said.
The Emerson poll surveyed 620 likely voters, with a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.9 percent. The Fox News poll surveyed a random sample of 901 Virginia voters and has a plus or minus three percent margin of error.
The Emerson poll also found 0.4 percent support for Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding, one percent support for someone else, and 1.9 percent undecided. The Fox News poll didn’t include Blanding, but found one percent support for other, one percent who won’t vote, and seven percent undecided.
Emerson also polled the Virginia attorney general race and found 43.7 percent support for Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) and 45.6 percent support for incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring. Among 10 percent of undecided voters, 65 percent lean towards Miyares. Neither poll included lieutenant governor candidates Winsome Sears or Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William.)
Nuttycombe thinks that all three statewide seats — governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor — will go to the same party, but Youngkin could potentially win while Herring wins re-election and Ayala takes the lieutenant governor race.
“I currently am holding to my prediction that Herring is going to have the biggest margin of victory among Democrats,” Nuttycombe said. “Big thing again, yes, is incumbency. He’s running for a third term.”
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to email@example.com.
Photo “Terry McAuliffe” by Terry McAuliffe. Photo “Glenn Youngkin with Supporter” by Glenn Youngkin.
John Fredericks is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Virginia Star.
He is also a Trump 2020 delegate and the chairman of the Trump Virginia Delegation.