McAuliffe holds 9-point lead in Virginia governor's race: poll

McAuliffe holds 9-point lead in Virginia governor's race: poll

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe holds a 9-point lead over his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, according to a new poll released on Thursday. 

The poll, conducted by the Watson Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, showed 50 percent of likely registered voters in Virginia supporting McAuliffe, while 41 percent backed Youngkin.

Another 6 percent said they were leaning toward supporting third-party nominee Princess Blanding, while 3 percent said they were undecided. 

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McAuliffe also leads among women and young voters, according to the findings. Fifty-five percent of women said they backed McAuliffe, while 36 percent said the same about Youngkin. Among young voters, 52 percent said they supported McAuliffe, and 34 said they supported Youngkin. 

The survey showed Youngkin with a strong 95 percent support among the commonwealth's Republican voters. Additionally, Youngkin holds a commanding 53 percent to 37 percent lead in the southern and southwestern parts of the state. McAuliffe, on the other hand, leads 59 to 33 percent in the Democratic stronghold of Northern Virginia. 

The race was slightly closer in the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas, where McAuliffe holds 8- and 11-point leads, respectively. 

The same poll also spelled good news for Democrats down the ballot. Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial nominee Hala Ayala leads GOP nominee Winsome Sears, 52 percent to 42 percent, while Attorney General Mark Herring (D) leads his reelection race against Republican challenger Jason Miyares, 53 percent to 41 percent. Six percent of voters in both races said they were undecided.

On the generic ballot for the House of Delegates, Democrats led Republicans 50 percent to 43 percent. 

The survey comes just more than two months out from Virginia's November elections. Republicans are hoping to regain some footing in the commonwealth after a string of Democratic victories in recent years.

The gubernatorial race has garnered national attention, with political watchers saying it could provide a window into what the 2022 midterm elections could look like.

While Tuesday's poll showed McAuliffe with a commanding lead, other polls have shown a more competitive race. The Cook Political Report rates the Virginia race as "lean Democratic." A Roanoke College poll released last week showed McAuliffe with an 8-point lead over Youngkin, while a Virginia Commonwealth University poll released last week showed McAuliffe with a more narrow 3-point lead.

The Christopher Newport University poll was conducted from Aug. 15 to 23 among 800 registered Virginia voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.