Republican Glenn Youngkin predicted Thursday night that he would roll to victory in Virginia’s gubernatorial election next week after a new poll showed him leading Democrat Terry McAuliffe by eight percentage points among likely voters in the commonwealth.
“His campaign is absolutely failing,” Youngkin told Fox News’ Sean Hannity of McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chair who served as Virginia governor between 2014 and 2018. “I mean, the sun is setting on his 43-year political career.”
“What’s happening in Virginia today, with us winning independents by double digits and Democrats walking across the aisle and voting for us, this isn’t gonna be close, Sean,” Youngkin added. “Virginians are making a big statement.”
The Fox News poll showed Youngkin, the former CEO of private equity firm The Carlyle Group, supported by 53 percent of likely voters with McAuliffe receiving 45 percent support. By contrast, the same poll showed just two weeks earlier that 51 percent of likely Virginia voters supported McAuliffe compared to 46 percent for Youngkin.
As Youngkin pointed out, the survey showed 56 percent of likely independent voters planned to support him compared to 34 percent who planned to support McAuliffe. While 95 percent of Republicans said they would vote for Youngkin and 93 percent of Democrats said they would vote for McAuliffe, the poll found that 9 percent of Biden voters said they would back Youngkin — compared to just 2 percent of Trump voters who said they would support McAuliffe.
President Joe Biden, right, waves after speaking at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.AP
McAuliffe had been favored to win a second non-consecutive term as Virginia governor after Joe Biden carried the commonwealth by 10 points in last year’s presidential election. However, as polls show McAuliffe’s once-comfortable lead slipping away, the campaign has drafted in prominent Democrats to stump for the former governor.
Biden spoke in Arlington Tuesday night and sought to tie Youngkin to former President Donald Trump, while Vice President Kamala Harris recorded a video endorsing McAuliffe that is currently being played in hundreds of churches across the state.
“Terry McAullife’s doing exactly the playbook that he wrote as the godfather of the modern-day Democratic Party … which is, bring somebody else in,” Youngkin said. “He’s asked everybody to come in to campaign. If you’ve ever held office and won – or didn’t win – he’s invited you to come in to take the spotlight off of his failed record as governor and his failure to lay forward an agenda that embraces Virginians.”
“I’ve said it all along, the only person excited about Terry McAuliffe is Terry McAuliffe,” Youngkin went on, “and Sean, the big thing is, this race has become a national race. Virginians are voting for the nation.”
Many of Youngkin’s closing arguments in the campaign have focused on education as parents object to the implementation of critical race theory and other controversial topics in K-12 curricula. McAuliffe, by contrast, has stumbled on the issue, saying at one point during a September debate that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks with reporters after a campaign event in Norfolk.Getty Images
“Terry McAuliffe has demonstrated that he cares more about his own career than he does for Virginians,” Youngkin said. “He wants to put government between parents and their children. If he doesn’t like the answer, then all of a sudden, the FBI comes in and tries to silence them.”
“We’re making a statement that there’s a new day ahead of us,” he concluded. “Low taxes, the best schools, the best jobs, safe communities and a government that works for us and isn’t telling us what to do all the time. These are universal values and Virginians are ready to step forward and make this race not even close.”
Virginians have not elected a Republican governor since 2009, when the commonwealth’s then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds.