The Virginia governors’ race wasn’t supposed to be this close.
Terry McAuliffe, who served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, was expected to move to a second non-consecutive term running the Commonwealth 12 months after Joe Biden won it by 10 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election.
With hours remaining before Election Day, Most polls The race between McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin showed close to dead heat. Yongkin appears to be taking the fight to McAuliffe over education, an issue that Democrats have long dominated.
a The poll was published on Friday By The Washington Post and George Mason University’s Schar School of Politics and Government found that a significant number of Virginia’s likely voters (24 percent) considered education the number one issue in the race, ahead of the economy (23 percent) and the COVID-19 pandemic (10 percent). ). By contrast, the same poll in September found that 27% of voters considered the economy the main issue, followed by the pandemic (16%) and education (15%).
The The Washington Post reported that voters who chose education as a major issue favored McAuliffe by 33 percentage points in September, but now support Yongkin by 9 percentage points. However, when asked who they trust most on this issue, potential voters were divided, with 47 percent saying McAuliffe and 46 percent Yongkin.
Similarly, the Emerson College Poll Of potential voters published on Monday, 21 percent chose education as the number one electoral issue, ahead of jobs (15 percent), COVID-19 (14 percent), health care (11 percent) and taxes (10 percent) .
While polls by Post and Emerson show McAuliffe a narrow lead among potential voters, a Fox News poll released Thursday showed Youngkin leading by 8 percentage points among likely voters.
A Fox poll showed that more than half of Virginia’s potential voters (52 percent) say they trust Youngkin more than McAuliffe (44 percent) on the education issue. The Republican also has a 14 percentage point advantage (56-42) over McAuliffe among prospective parents of voters.
The two campaigns’ approaches to education were studies in contrast, with Yongkin advocating greater parental involvement in local schools. On the other hand, McAuliffe summed up his position in a debate on September 28 when he said, “I don’t think parents should tell schools what they should teach.”
At a time when school board meetings across America have been marked by heated debates—and sometimes physical confrontations—over issues such as mask mandates and the addition of critical race theory into primary and secondary curricula, Yongkin’s message has resonated.
a Suffolk University poll of Virginia’s potential voters Published Tuesday — which showed McAuliffe and Youngkin in a statistical tie of 45 percent each — found that 49.8 percent believe parents should have a greater influence on the curriculum than local school boards, compared to 38.8 percent who think school boards She should have a bigger opinion.
Yongkin sought to harness parental anger in Republican voices, accusing McAuliffe in the same debate in September of trying to “repress and silence” parents so that schools can advance a “radical political agenda” in the classroom.
The Republican also vowed to “ban critical race theory once elected,” while McAuliffe accused him of using the term as a “racist dog whistle.”
In addition, Yongkin called for an investigation into the public school system in Tony Loudoun County, northern Virginia over allegations that it covered the sexual assault of a female student in a high school bathroom, and Torre Attorney Merrick Garland Earlier this week on his Oct. 4 memo indicating that the FBI would crack down on parents who are believed to have threatened school officials.
“Terry McAuliffe has shown that he cares more about his career than he cares about Virginians,” Youngkin told Fox News Thursday night. He wants to put the government between parents and their children. If he doesn’t like the answer, then all of a sudden, the FBI comes along and tries to silence them.”
Yongkin is far from emphasizing victory. It remains to be seen how deeply his message of patriarchal empowerment has permeated Northern Virginia – the most prosperous, populous, pro-democracy part. However, both sides view the nearness of the race in a solid blue as a possible sign that trouble may lie ahead for Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.
“What happens in Virginia will largely determine what happens in 2022, 2024 and beyond,” Vice President Kamala Harris told McAuliffe supporters at a rally in Norfolk Friday night.