A Suffolk University poll of likely Virginia voters shows the governor’s race is currently deadlocked with Democrat Terry McAuliffe (46%) leading Republican Glenn Youngkin (45%) by less than a point, well within the poll’s statistical margin of error.
Just 2% of voters support Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding — the only other name on the Virginia ballot. Five percent of likely voters described themselves as still undecided.
Blanding’s relatively small number of supporters may turn out to have an outsized impact on the final result, because of her appeal among young voters and independents, said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “At this point,” he said, “her 2% is larger than the margin between McAuliffe and Youngkin.”
Blanding received the support of 6% of independents, 5% of younger voters ages 18-35 years, and 6% of those who didn’t vote in the 2020 presidential election but who plan to vote on Nov. 2.
Third party candidate Princess Blanding’s relatively small number of supporters may have an outsized impact on the Virginia governor’s race, because of her appeal among young voters and independents.
The race for Virginia’s governor splits along lines of gender, geography, and race. Among men, Youngkin led McAuliffe 58%-32%, while among women McAuliffe prevailed 59%-33%. McAuliffe carried Northern Virginia 59%-30%, but trailed badly in the western part of the state 69%-28% and the Piedmont area 53%-35%. Youngkin led big among white voters 56%-38%, but McAuliffe crushed Youngkin among Black voters 81%-8%.
“The turnout of Black voters is critical to the outcome of this contest,” said Paleologos. “If Black voters make up more than 20% of the voting electorate, McAuliffe will very likely prevail.”
Forty percent of voters surveyed said the most important issue impacting the governor’s race was the economy/jobs, followed by education (23%), and healthcare (17%).
McAuliffe led Youngkin 80%-13% among those most concerned about healthcare, but trailed by 13 points among those most concerned about jobs and education.
In what could be seen as a 2022 midterm election bellwether, a majority of likely Virginia voters were sour on the current situation in Washington, D.C., with 52% saying they disapproved of President Joe Biden’s performance, and more than 66% saying they felt the nation was headed in the wrong direction.
Voters want parents to influence school curriculum
By a margin of 50%-39%, voters said parents should have more of an influence on a school’s curriculum than school boards. At a recent governor’s debate, this emerged as a hot-button issue when Youngkin pressed McAuliffe, who stated, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Voters concerned Virginia economy not improving
Nearly two-thirds (65%) said that the state’s economy has either stayed the same or gotten worse over the past four years, while nearly 29% say that the Virginia economy has improved.
Grocery tax panned
A majority of voters (54%) want to eliminate Virginia’s 2.5% grocery tax while 33% oppose eliminating the tax. Supporters of elimination have argued this move would provide much needed relief for shoppers while opponents say it would reduce revenue for schools and roads.
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