Virginia Governor: Mind The Enthusiasm Gap

October 26, 2021

In one week, the Virginia governor’s race will be decided, and it will offer one of our first looks at what may portend for both parties in 2022. But heading into Election Day, it certainly feels like one side — Republicans and nominee Glenn Youngkin — has the momentum in the final stretch — while Democrats and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe are battling against President Biden’s sagging approval ratings, rising inflation and prices as the gas pump and grocery checkout and general malaise among the electorate.

Polling so far bears out not just a close race but one with enthusiasm on the GOP side, independents breaking big for Youngkin and Biden’s approval rating still in the danger zone. McAuliffe now only holds a tenuous 1.7 point lead over Youngkin in the FiveThirtyEight average as of Tuesday. A Suffolk University/USA Today poll released this morning showed the two candidates tied at 45% each, Biden’s approve/disapprove numbers were underwater at 42%/52%. With independents, that number dropped to 32%/57%. Last week, a Monmouth University poll had similar numbers, with McAuliffe and Youngkin

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