McAuliffe maintains small lead in Virginia governor race: poll

McAuliffe maintains small lead in Virginia governor race: poll
© Greg Nash

Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe maintains a stable lead over Republican hopeful Glenn Youngkin according to a Monmouth University Poll released Monday.

According to the Monmouth survey, McAuliffe has a 5-point lead over Youngkin with 48 percent of voters saying they will be choosing the former governor and 43 percent saying they would vote for his opponent.

These polling results are nearly identical to polling data gathered in August when 47 percent were in favor of McAuliffe and 42 percent were in favor of Youngkin.

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McAuliffe, who formerly served as Virginia governor from 2014 to 2018, is enjoying a large advantage in the Northern Virginia region as well as the eastern Tidewater region where he currently leads by 20 to 30 points over Youngkin. However, Youngkin currently has a lead of 24 points over McAuliffe in western Virginia.

Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray said, "The central spine around Richmond appears to be the area with the greatest potential for actually swaying voters. Throughout most of Virginia, though, it’s more a matter of turning out the respective party’s bases."

The Virginia gubernatorial election is less than two months away, and Monmouth noted McAuliffe currently has a higher advantage over Youngkin when it comes to two of the top three issues important to Virginians: the economy, COVID-19 and education.

McAuliffe leads Youngkin when it comes to the pandemic and education while voters are split on which of the two candidates they would prefer to handle the state's economy.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted from Sept. 22 to 26 and involved a random sample of 801 Virginia voters. The polling results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Last week, the Cook Political Report shifted from leaning toward the Democratic Party to being a "toss-up." McAuliffe and Youngkin are set to take part in the second Virginia gubernatorial debate on Tuesday.