(Coleman Hopkins, Headline USA) The Biden administration may soon face its first test over how much political damage a recent series of policy disasters has inflicted, with Republicans cautiously optimistic to retake the Virginia governorship and state legislature next month.
A recent survey by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University reported that races were narrowing in the once-red state, where migratory patterns in the suburbs of Washington, DC, and other major urban areas helped Democrats in recent election cycles to gain total political control and implement more favorable voting procedures for their own party.
Long considered a bellwether for the presidential midterm election due to its gubernatorial election in the off-year following a presidential election, the Old Dominion for decades had elected a governor of the opposite party as the sitting president—until former Clinton stooge Terry McAuliffe was able, under suspicious circumstances, to buck the trend in 2013.
McAuliffe stepped aside following his first term due to a statutory requirement banning consecutive terms, but he now seeks to secure the seat once again from his one-time successor, fellow Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam.
On paper, it should be a cake-walk for McAuliffe—a former Democratic National Committee chairman—in a state and country where Democrats currently hold all the levers of control.
The race against Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin, a first-time candidate, pits the ultimate party insider against a political outsider.
McAuliffe has tried to link Youngkin to the Trump administration even while subtly distancing himself from President Joe Biden, whose current approval ratings are deep underwater.
But with the Biden administration facing historic policy failures that have brought the already COVID-weary country to the brink of total catastrophe, Youngkin’s campaign has defied all expectations, causing the Left to panic as the election enters into the final weeks.
Per the Wason Center survey McAuliffe currently holds a roughly 4 point advantage over Youngkin. However, that lead was 5 points higher in August than in the most recent survey.
The same survey reports similar trends in the down-ballot races. Specifically, Democratic candidates for attorney general and lieutenant governor—Attorney General Mark Herring and Del. Hala Ayala, respectively—have experienced comparable declines in support.
According to the Wason Center’s report, poll numbers for Democratic candidates have fallen due to an acute loss of support from independents.
Recent controversies—particularly those around state-level education policies and the country’s struggling economy—may explain some of this movement.
Despite the reasons for Republicans to be optimistic, though, many remain cautious not to get too far ahead of themselves.
Virginia is now a dark-blue state that has not voted Republican in a state-wide race in over a decade.
One reason that this is so is because counties in the northern regions of the state that once either voted Republican or split favorably are now among the most consistently Democratic precincts.
And while polls such as the one released by the Wason Center are more favorable to Youngkin, there is no longer a single election day in the state, but an election month and a half—give or take—thanks to Democrats’ manipulation of the voting laws.
As with Youngkin supporters, Trump supporters were more excited to vote than Biden supporters in 2020, and that did not translate into a win.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.