In a clash between former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, which the latest Fox News polling suggests is remarkably aggressive with just a month to go until Election Day, it’s no wonder that McAuliffe’s regularly trying to join the GOP nominee to the former president. Trump lost Virginia by 10 points to Biden in last November’s presidential election.
But Biden’s position in the state has worsened, according to the Fox News poll and other polls. The president’s decreasing support ratings, along with the failure of the White House and moderate and progressive congressional Democrats to match on the party’s massive social spending and climate change agenda, may also be important factors in a close gubernatorial race with national implications.
Virginia has turned blue over the past decade, and it’s been a dozen years since Republicans overcame a statewide election in the commonwealth. But it remains competitive, and the McAuliffe-Youngkin showdown is seen as a key gauge ahead of next year's midterm elections, when control of Congress will be there for the taking.
McAuliffe holds a four-point 48%-44% advantage over Youngkin, with 9% of Virginia voters unsettled or endorsing someone else, according to a Fox News poll carried Sept. 26-29 and published on Thursday.
"This benchmark survey of the Virginia governor’s race shows it is still up for grabs," the poll’s release highlighted. "That four percentage-point edge is within the survey’s margin of sampling error and both candidates are below 50 percent support."
According to the survey, Trump prevails well undersea in Virginia, with a 41%-57% favorable/unfavorable rating.
McAuliffe has tried to tie Youngkin, the former CEO of a large private equity firm who’s been endorsed by Trump, to the former president in campaign commercials. And he maintained his full-court press at last week’s second and final debate in the race, once again calling Youngkin a "Trump wannabe."
Youngkin replied to the effort by McAuliffe to describe him as a Trump clone with some happiness.
"Terry, you just made folks in Las Vegas a lot of money," Youngkin said. "There's an over-under tonight on how many times you're going to say 'Donald Trump,' and it was 10, and you just busted through it."
But during the debate, Youngkin deviated from the former president when moderator Chuck Todd of NBC News asked about Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was "rigged" and "stolen" from him.
"There wasn't material fraud, and I believe that the election was certifiably fair," Youngkin responded.