With voting underway, Democrats hold small but narrowing leads in Virginia’s statewide races, according to our survey of likely voters in the Nov. 2 general election. Since we polled these races in late August, Democratic leads have shrunk,and the contests for governor and lieutenant governor now stand within this survey’s margin of error (+/-4.2%).
Independent voters have moved significantly toward all three Republican candidates. Republican voters are more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats, with 61% of Republican likely voters indicating they are very enthusiastic compared to 55% of Democrats.
Governor: Democrat Terry McAuliffe maintains a narrow lead against Republican Glenn Youngkin, 49% to 45% in the race for governor. This represents a tightening in the race since our August 26 poll, which showed McAuliffe with a 9-point lead (50% to 41%). Independent voters have shifted significantly, with Republican Youngkin gaining 11 points since late Augustn(from 39% to 50%), while McAuliffe has lost ground among Independents (from 44% to 41%).Youngkin’s support is currently driven by white voters (58%), male voters (48%) and those from the South/Southwest region (57%). Youngkin maintains 90% of his Republican base.
Former Governor McAuliffe has largely maintained his overall support at 49% (compared to 50% in late August).McAuliffe’ssupport is strongest among women (50%), Black voters (86%), voters age 44 and younger (55%) and voters in the Northern Virginia region (59%). McAuliffe shows 92% support among Democrats and has gained slight ground among self-identified Republicans (7% compared to 3% in August). A small percentage of those surveyed (4%) have already voted in the governor’s race, with 1.3% indicating they voted for Youngkin and 2.7% for McAuliffe.
Lieutenant governor: Democratic Del. Hala Ayala leads former Republican Del. Winsome Sears by 4 points (48% to 44%), with 8% undecided. The race has tightened significantly since our August 26 survey, which showed Ayala leading by 10 points. The race is now within this survey’s margin of error (+/-4.2%).
Since our August 26 poll, Sears has gained 10 points among Independents (from 40% to 50%), while Ayala’s support has dropped (from 49% to 41%). Both candidates have lost some ground among their base; Ayala currently has support from 88% of Democrats (compared to 95% previously), while Sears shows 87% support from Republicans (compared to 95%). Overall, Ayala’s support is driven primarily by voters age 44 and younger (55% to 41%), Black voters (85% to 5%) and women (50% to 40%), and an advantage in Northern Virginia (58%-35%). Sears’ strongest support comes from white voters (56% to 38%)and voters in the South/Southwest region (55% to 34%).