WaPo-Schar School poll shows Virginia governor's race neck-and-neck

WaPo-Schar School poll shows Virginia governor's race neck-and-neck

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe (D) and Glenn Youngkin (R) are neck-and-neck in the race for the governor's mansion, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll released Friday.

The survey found that 50 percent of likely voters support McAuliffe, compared to 47 percent who support Youngkin.

Among registered voters, McAuliffe’s support drops slightly to 49 percent, compared to 43 percent for Youngkin. 

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The results among likely voters are within the poll's 4.5-point margin of error. When considering polling results among registered voters, McAuliffe's lead is just outside the survey's margin of error. 

Early voting began on Friday in the gubernatorial election, kicking off the final stretch for the campaigns.

The candidates went head-to-head in a debate on Thursday, where the candidates sparred over varying topics like reproductive rights, the economy and the coronavirus pandemic. The candidates are expected to debate again on Sept. 28 at George Mason University. 

The most recent polling results come after an Emerson College/Nexstar media poll released this month showed McAuliffe similarly leading Youngkin 49 percent to 45 percent.

Twenty-five percent of registered voters in Friday’s poll said the economy was the most important issue in their choice for governor. Another 17 percent said that the pandemic was the top issue, 14 percent said education was their's and 11 percent prioritized crime and public safety.

According to the poll, Youngkin barely led McAuliffe on crime and public safety among registered voters. Forty-two  percent said they trusted the Republican businessman over McAuliffe. Forty percent said they trusted McAuliffe on the issue. 

Youngkin also held a 42 percent to 41 percent edge over McAuliffe for trust in handling the economy.

However, more registered voters said they trusted McAuliffe over Youngkin on the pandemic by a 44 percent to 35 percent margin.

The poll surveyed a random sample of 987 adults in Virginia, including 907 registered voters and 728 likely voters from Sept. 7-13, 2021. It has a margin or error of +/- 4 percentage points among registered voters and 4.5 percentage points among likely voters.