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McAuliffe's lead against Youngkin shrinks in Virginia governor's race, CNU poll shows

Since the last CNU poll in August, independents have significantly moved toward Republican candidates in Virginia's upcoming elections.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — With 25 days until Virginia's elections, and with early voting already underway, a new poll shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a shrinking lead against Republican Glenn Youngkin in the governor's race.

The survey was conducted by The Wason Center at Christopher Newport University between Sept. 27 and Oct. 6. They asked Virginia voters about their preferences for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, as well as the abortion issue.

According to an analysis from pollsters, the Democratic candidates have seen shrinking leads. Since the last CNU poll in August, independents have significantly moved toward all three Republican candidates.

In the governor's race, McAuliffe leads Youngkin 49% to 45% among likely voters, which falls within the survey's 4.2% margin of error. 5% are undecided and third-party candidate Princess Blanding has 1%. The survey found Youngkin gained 11 points among independents since late August -- from 39 to 50% -- while McAuliffe lost ground -- from 44 to 41%.

Youngkin’s support is currently driven by white voters at 58%, male voters at 48% and those from the South/Southwest part of Virginia at 57%. McAuliffe’s support is strongest among women at 50%, Black voters at 86%, voters age 44 and younger at 55% and voters in the Northern Virginia region at 59%.

"Technically, in the world of polling, this is a tie, because Terry McAuliffe is leading Glen Youngkin by four points, in a survey that has a 4.2 percent margin of error," said Wason Center Director and CNU political science professor Quentin Kidd. "I would call it a 'margin of error' lead."

In the last Wason Center poll, McAuliffe had a 9-point lead.

Kidd said there has been a shift among some segments of the electorate.

"And what's changed from the last poll we did, which was in the field in late August-early September, is that there's been a lot of momentum and movement on the part of Republican voters and independents towards Glenn Youngkin," he said. "All things being like they are right now, it's still a Democratic advantage. But we have a month to go. Things can change a lot in a month. A lot has changed in the last month."

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Del. Hala Ayala, leads former Republican Del. Winsome Sears 48% to 44%. Attorney General Mark Herring, the Democratic candidate seeking a third term, leads Republican Del. Jason Miyares 49% to 43%.

Since Texas' ban on abortions at six weeks, the poll shows that the issue has become a hotter topic among Virginia voters. 61% of voters support protecting women’s access to abortion, while 30% said they want to pass laws making it more difficult for women to get an abortion. Also, voters largely oppose a measure banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected 55% to 36%.

While Democratic candidates have the narrow lead, the poll found that Republican voters are more enthusiastic than Democratic voters in this election 61% to 55%.

You can click here to read the full report. 

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