A new CD Media Big Data Poll finds the Virginia gubernatorial election between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin dead even at 47% among likely voters. The most important voting issues, the president’s waning approval rating, and a clear Republican enthusiasm edge have made the election for the next governor in the Old Dominion a toss-up.
Mr. Youngkin is offsetting a slight disadvantage among base crossover (4% vs.7%) with a roughly 10-point lead among independents and third-party voters, 48.3% to 38.0%. In 2017, then-Republican nominee Ed Gillespie only carried this group by just under 3 points.
“Democrats wanted this election to be about the pandemic, Medicaid expansion and other healthcare-related issues,” Big Data Poll Director Rich Baris noted. “But concern over the pandemic response and healthcare have taken a backseat to pocketbook issues and public education.”
When asked, voters cited the economy and jobs (25.5%) and cost of living/taxes/inflation (17.4%) as the two issues most important to their vote for governor this year. While coronavirus/vaccinations were cited by a combined 15.2% of voters, public education was closely behind at 14.0%.
When the state leaned Republican, Virginia had a long voting history of electing a governor from a party not in the White House during a president’s first term. Joe Biden won the state 54% to 44% last November, and now a significant percentage of his voters disapprove of the job he’s doing as president.
Only 45% of voters statewide approve of the job he’s doing, to include just 21% who strongly approve. That compares to 53% who disapprove, to include 43% who strongly disapprove. His overall approval stands at 34% among independent/other voters, a group he carried by nearly 20 points (57% to 38%) in 2020.
Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is in better shape than the president, though only slightly above water. While 47.0% approve of the job the current governor is doing, nearly as many (45.7%) disapprove. In 2017, Governor Northam easily carried the Hispanic vote, 67% to 32%.
“With Hispanics, Mr. McAuliffe is coming nowhere near the numbers Governor Northam enjoyed,” Mr. Baris added. “The Republican candidate has closed the gap considerably among Latinos and expanded on Mr. Gillespie’s lead among whites.”
White voters are backing Mr. Youngkin 56% to 39%, up from the 57% to 42% margin in 2017. Hispanic and Latino voters are backing Mr. McAuliffe 54% to 41%, a 20-point swing to the Republican candidate. Black voters are breaking 67% to 13% for the Democratic candidate, down from the 87% to 12% margin for Governor Northam. Asian voters break overwhelmingly for the former governor, 68% to 24%, while other racial groups back the Republican, 64% to 30%.
The CD Media Big Data Poll in Virginia was sponsored by CD Media and conducted by Big Data Poll, interviewing 1,061 likely voters statewide via online survey panel from October 16 to October 20, 2021. The survey sampling error is ± 3.0% at a 95% confidence interval. Results were weighted to represent statewide voter file demographics to include gender, age, race and region. The partisan breakdown of the survey was 35.6% Democratic, 34.4% Republican, 22.8% Independent and 7.2% Other. It’s important to note that sampling errors for subgroups are higher.
|White (NOT Hispanic)||70.30%|
|Black / African American||19.50%|
|Hispanic / Latino||4.20%|
|American Indian / Alaska Native||0.60%|
|Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander||0.40%|
|1st District: Rep. Rob Wittman (R)||10.00%|
|2nd District: Rep. Elaine Luria (D)||8.50%|
|3rd District: Rep. Bobby Scott (D)||8.20%|
|4th District: Rep. Donald McEachin (D)||8.80%|
|5th District: Rep. Bob Good (R)||9.20%|
|6th District: Rep. Ben Cline (R)||9.20%|
|7th District: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D)||10.70%|
|8th District: Rep. Don Beyer (D)||8.40%|
|9th District: Rep. Morgan Griffith (R)||7.90%|
|10th District: Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D)||10.40%|
|11th District: Rep. Gerry Connolly (D)||8.70%|