Polls Show Dead Heat in Off-Year Virginia Elections – a Must Win for GOP

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When Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin was elected in 2021, it was well on its way to becoming a solidly blue state — something that would have been disastrous for Republicans. But Republican Youngkin, a newcomer to politics, managed to pull off a minor miracle, defeating Democrat Terry McAuliffe and giving Republicans a majority in the state House of Delegates. Now, with another election looming next month, polls show that Republicans have a lot of work to do if they not only want to maintain that majority but also build on it. Needless to say, Virginia is a must-win not just this November but in November 2024 as well. 

According to the latest Founder’s Insight poll, a generic Assembly ballot has Democrats and Republicans neck and neck, separated by just one percentage point, 45-44 percent, respectively. With the election just weeks away on November 7 and all 140 State House seats up for grabs, Youngkin is rallying the troops in the hope that the GOP will maintain their majority in the State House and also flip the State Senate over to Republicans. The poll showed that, like nearly all other Americans, the economy and taxes are front and center on the minds of Virginians. A whopping 61 percent of Commonwealth residents believe they are overtaxed. All Virginians are feeling the economic pinch as well, and it doesn’t appear that they feel like Bidenomics is working. Of those polled, 24 percent said that the economy was the number one issue for them, and 74 percent said they had reduced their spending due to the economy. Among poll respondents, 65 percent say their grocery bills have gone up, and 17 percent say they are paying more at the gas pump. 

An earlier poll taken between September 5-and 11 for the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies also confirms that Virginia is still in the purple column. Of those respondents, 40 percent said they wanted a Democrat majority in the State House, and 37 preferred a GOP majority. But when likely voters were asked what their preference was, things got way tighter, with 42 percent saying they wanted a Democrat majority and 42 percent saying they wanted Republicans in charge.

Virginia Republicans seem to have gotten the jump on November’s election early. Youngkin’s Political Action Committee (PAC), Spirit of Virginia, has raised $7.45 million for the third quarter of fundraising, for a total since March of this year of $15.5 million for GOP legislative candidates. Meanwhile, Democrats may be getting complacent, with the Democrat National Committee only raising $1.5 million targeted for the November election. 

After the 2020 election, Republicans realized that they would have to get on board with early and absentee voting, and that is exactly what Glenn Youngkin has done with Republicans in Virginia. He launched “Secure Your Vote Virginia” in July and gives voters complete instructions on how to sign up for absentee ballots, something that Republican voters were very wary of before but now might be catching on. Both Youngkin and Lieutenant Gov. Winsome Sears appeared at an event over the weekend, where Sears held up her absentee ballot and told the crowd, “Folks, you are looking at power!” 

Glenn Youngkin has been talked about for a while as a possible late entry into the 2024 presidential race. Much of that has come from anti-Trump conservatives and GOP donors looking for an alternative to Donald Trump. Youngkin has brushed off speculation about running, only saying,

I’m totally focused on Virginia elections, and that’s what we’re gonna get done.

Youngkin has not expressly said he would rule out a White House run. But he may be playing a game of beat-the-clock. Deadlines for getting on the ballot in many states are fast approaching. But if election night in Virginia is a good one for Republicans, that list of Republican candidates may grow by one. But with just four weeks to go, being able to say they flipped a state like Virginia from an all-Democrat state government to an all-Republican one in just two years would be the best statement Republicans could make.

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