Virginia governor's race a dead heat

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato joins Shep Smith to discuss the state’s gubernatorial race, which has tightened up significantly. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

Without any other hotly contested big races this fall, all eyes are on Virginia as Democrats try to weather a decline in President Joe Biden’s approval ratings.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and Republican Glenn Youngkin, are polling neck-and-neck in the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race.

The results of the Nov. 2 election could act as a preview of the nation’s political landscape ahead of the 2022 midterms. The only other major contest of note this November is in New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, is expected to win reelection.

McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, aims to continue a winning streak for Democrats in statewide races that began in 2012.

Youngkin, a political newcomer and former CEO of global investment giant Carlyle Group, hopes to break that run and snag a first-in-a-decade statewide win for the GOP.

Here are the key themes of the race:

The potential effect of Biden’s approval ratings
Youngkin’s business background and wealth
The fight over Covid vaccine mandates
The Trump factor
Virginia’s role as a national bellwether
An intense final stretch
The last two presidential elections might suggest that Democrats are in solid shape to prevail. Biden, who has endorsed McAuliffe, won Virginia by 10 percentage points in the 2020 election, and Hillary Clinton won Virginia by over 5 percentage points in 2016.

Democrats also made huge gains while former President Donald Trump was in office, taking full control of the commonwealth’s government in 2019 after big wins in 2017, when they wiped out Republicans’ overwhelming majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.

All of which indicates that the commonwealth has leaned comfortably blue in the past decade.

But with Biden’s approval ratings waning in recent weeks, Republicans see an opportunity to reclaim power in Virginia and secure an advantage in the midterm elections next year. The latest polling in the governor’s race shows the candidates in a dead heat.

The gubernatorial race will be the first competitive statewide election in the nation since Biden took office. It will also be one of the last before Democrats will fight to defend their razor-thin majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Potential Biden effect

Recent polling indicates a tighter-than-expected race to succeed Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who is unable to seek reelection this year because Virginia law prohibits governors from serving consecutive terms.

A Monmouth University poll released Wednesday found the race between McAuliffe and Youngkin moving to a dead heat, with support identical at 46%. Previous polling from the university in September and August found McAuliffe with a 5-point lead over his Republican counterpart.

Another survey, conducted Oct. 4-11 by YouGov and CBS News, found McAuliffe with a 3-point lead over Youngkin among likely voters, an advantage within the survey’s 4.1-percentage point margin of error. McAuliffe hit 50%, while Youngkin trailed closely behind with 47%.

An Emerson College poll from earlier in October also found McAuliffe with a slight lead over Youngkin among likely voters, at 49% to 48%. A previous poll conducted by the college in September showed McAuliffe with a 4-point lead over his Republican counterpart.

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38 Responses

  1. mcconn746 says:

    A lot people on both sides are ticked at arrogant Democrats who think they know what is better for our children than we do. They want to indoctrinate our kids. If McAuliffe loses, it will be because of his arrogance.

  2. George Kafantaris says:

    If the folks in Virginia have already missed Donald Trump they can vote for his desciple, Glenn Youngkin. Not complicated.

  3. Emily Casanova says:

    It is cause of covid-19 the gas prices went up. But it didn't went up much

  4. kevin hawley says:

    As people in Virginia go to vote for their next governor, Joe Biden and the Democrat party wish to remind you that you trying to have a say in your children's ' education is a complete act of extreme terrorism. How dare you?

  5. Blacks WakingUP! says:

    The tyrannical regime called The Radical Democrat Party is in big trouble! Too many people are rightfully scared if this democrat Governor gets lucky enough to win! Governor Nuson won in California and now allows $950,00 of theft with no jail time for thieves! Small and Large Businesses are being Forced to close of leave the Radical. Democrat run state! Virginia is next? Plans are being prepared by Democrats to imitate California! Ouch! I’m voting NO to this Insane authoritarian Regime! No no no

  6. Lynne Lynne says:

    See the smokescreen right in front of your eyes. DEAD HEAT race claim, so they can manipulate the machines again.

  7. Rich’s Pizza Party says:

    It shouldn’t even be close if you care about your kids and this country. Anyone but Terry.

  8. SIoyvenheaven1 says:

    Shep smith is a joke.

  9. Bruce Banner says:

    Lets Go Brandon

  10. Jason Carlson says:

    Jesus Christ, this clown Sabado has been down in Charlottesville forever! What, no toppling of Jefferson statues down there?!

  11. Kathy Garrett says:

    McAuliffe has not said anything about what he can do for Virginia. All he does is talk about Donald Trump. What are you plans for Virginia?

  12. Scott Deaton says:

    Larry and Shep, or more aptly named Dumb & Dumber.

  13. Dirtcycle says:

    Stacey has lost a TON of weight

  14. ddddpaulette says:

    Vote blue

  15. Armored Anvil says:

    McAuliffe needs a miracle .

  16. al su says:

    Is this network, another fake news?

  17. june bug says:

    This was the first time republicans tried to overthrow the government.
    That will turn the 22 election to the Democrats.
    People are not happy about that sedition,
    And its comming back to roost.

  18. Kendall Houlder says:

    This is not About Trump at this Point, it's about those who have the power to do something & (DID NOT) 
    (promises never materialize)
    DEMOCRATS WILL LOSE…..IT'S BECAUSE DEMOCRATS FAILED BLACK VOTERS AGAIN !!!…democrats haven't delivered at all….they took the black voters for granted AGAIN and will pay dearly at the polls this Time…..Not even Obama or Abrams can Fix this…
    "BLACK VOTERS ARE SHOUTING NOT TILL YOU DO RIGHT BY ME"…… Soon BLACKS none Presence at the polls will be Felt !!!!

  19. M C says:

    Shepherd knows democrats are in free fall

  20. Grace S says:

    Ol Blackface has to lose
    Save Virginia!

  21. Rusky Petrovsky says:

    Turn Dominion off.oh Let's go Brandon.

  22. mike m says:

    When you start to see Youngkin signs in Fairfax County, that tells you something.

  23. Donna Austin says:

    Shep & CNBC are playing those who haven’t done their research on McAuliffe. Deplorable.

  24. Mars LPV says:

    Trump TEAM will not waste our time on Youngkin . . He doesn't want Trump campaigning with him. We don't want him!!!

  25. Raya says:

    While DNC vote fraudsters begin their act.

  26. acool6401 says:

    If Youngkin wins he will declare it as a clean victory and a very fair and legitimate win but if he loses he will declare fraud and claim adamantly that McAuliffe stole the election and that this a trend and a pattern among democrats. Then he will not provide a single shred of proof to back his claim but will continue to promote the BIG LIE and that will be enough for all the naive Trump gullibles to believe him.

  27. BS1 says:

    Hey Virginia, please don't go there with the Trump way of life… This world all of us can't take anymore.

  28. Abel Sr says:

    Dems need to do more than just say that Youngkin is a little version of Trump, and that he wants to ban books, they need to warn voters that a Republican governor will result in Trump back in the White House in 2025 . The whole reason that Trump is pushing so hard for a Republican governor is so he has one of his cronies in place to throw out all the votes in Virginia in 2024 and declare Trump the winner of that state. They are planning on complete subversion of the next presidential election and taking away voting rights of millions of people. Voters in Virginia need to now how much is really at stake here. It isn't that Youngkin is like Trump, it's that Youngkin will mean Trump in the White House until he dies and a lot of people will suffer.

  29. Robert Wise says:

    Do not vote out of hate for Trump instead vote what you see higher gas prices less food on your table and a president who can not show responsibility or respect for men and women who he got killed.

  30. Noslen Sesom says:

    I'm a Democrat that voted for Youngkin.

  31. John Doe says:

    If the people of Virginia have not been paying attention to what the Democrat have done to this country and vote for someone that all the career politicians are pushing for then they get what they deserve. If you people want this government to take all their rights and to take control of their kid and grandkids lives. The Democrat have done NOTHING for the American people. Let’s take our country back. It starts here. So let’s show them that we had enough of them. LET’S GO BRANDON

  32. Marco Amador says:

    Dems have screwed up! Virginia needs to be Red. Set the stage, they are panicking. Finally, defund career politicians!

  33. Rex Terry says:

    The dems have slammed this state with immigrants for years and recently sent over 6000 Afghans to the military bases there. The dems are playing the American public pretending the race is close. Do not be fooled! Virginia is deep blue.

  34. Henry Clark says:


  35. Henry Clark says:


  36. Craig Anderson says:

    Virginia deserves a governor that will help them and not screw them over every time or act like a king when they can~!

  37. Robert says:

    Never believe in a "sure thing" when it comes to our democratic elections. Parents need to stand up for our children of tomorrow in our schools.

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