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Terry McAuliffe has a slim poll lead over Glenn Youngkin in Virginia governor’s race

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is enjoying a slim lead over Republican rival Glenn Youngkin in the race to become the next governor of the state of Virginia.

Polling has been relatively sparse in the closely watched race, which many view as a potential test for Democrats after they won the White House and control of both chambers of Congress.

A CBS News poll carried out by YouGov between October 4 and 11 showed McAuliffe, who was previously governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, with 50 percent support compared to Youngkin’s 47 percent.

The CBS News poll questioned 1,040 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4.1 percent—meaning the race is currently very close. The election will take place on November 2.

Poll tracker FiveThirtyEight, which analyzes a wide range of polls and uses its own system of pollster ratings, gave McAuliffe an average of 48.1 percent as of October 11. Youngkin was given an average of 45.5 percent.

FiveThirtyEight’s analysis took into account the CBS News/YouGov poll and gives YouGov a B+ rating, though polling has been limited.

A Fox News poll conducted among 901 registered voters from September 26 to 29 showed McAuliffe on 48 percent and Youngkin on 44 percent. The poll’s margin of error was 3 percent. Fox News polling enjoys an A rating from FiveThirtyEight.

All the signs are pointing to a tight race in the state that voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 by 54.4 percent, compared with 44.2 percent for former President Donald Trump. Incumbent Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, was elected with 53.9 percent of the vote in 2017. His Republican opponent Ed Gillespie won 44.9 percent of the vote.

Northam can’t run this year because the state’s constitution forbids a governor from serving consecutive terms. McAuliffe was unable to run for another term in 2017 for the same reason.

The CBS News poll also reflected Virginia voters’ differing views on the candidates. While 46 percent of likely voters believed McAuliffe would perform better on COVID vaccines compared to 41 percent for Youngkin, respondents took a different view when it came to jobs.

Forty-five percent of likely voters polled said Youngkin would create more jobs compared to 41 percent who said the same for McAuliffe. Youngkin also leads among voters who say the economy is a major factor in the race, while McAuliffe leads among those who view vaccine mandates as a major issue.

Some see the Virginia governor’s race a bellwether contest as Youngkin has been endorsed by former President Trump, while President Biden supports McAuliffe. Youngkin, however, has been reluctant to invoke the former president.

McAuliffe has said that a defeat for him would be a victory for Trump.

“If we don’t win this thing, this is Donald Trump’s comeback, and people need to wake up,” the former governor told MSNBC‘s Morning Joe on Tuesday.

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) (L) debates with Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin in an event hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce on September 28, 2021, in Alexandria, Virginia. McAuliffe holds a slim lead but polling has been limited.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

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