So far, there’s been minimal polling on the Virginia governor’s race, and what polling we’ve gotten has mostly been by pro-Republican and/or right-wing outfits (“The Trafalgar Group,” “WPA Intelligence”), with the one exception of a poll by “JMC Analytics and Polling” (not sure why, but Wikipedia lists this group as Republican, which I don’t believe is the case). So far, those polls have all shown Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe leading Republican Glenn Youngkin, but but by relatively small (2-4 points) margins.
Now, another heavily right-wing/Republican-leaning poll is out, by something called “Spry Strategies,” and considering the strong right-wing/Republican bias of this pollster, the results (McAuliffe +5 points) are very encouraging. We’ll get to the top takeaways from this poll in a second, but first, some background on “Spry Strategies”:
- According to Spry’s website, its clients have *heavily* leaned Republican and right wing: Ron DeSantis for Governor, the North Carolina GOP, Herman Cain for President, the pro-Trump “Great America” SuperPAC, the Tennessee House Republican Caucus, the hard-right (against same-sex marriage, anti-abortion, anti-transgender, anti-“Common Core,” etc.) “American Principles Project,” etc.
- Spry’s Virginia poll is hosted on the website of the hard-right “American Principles Project,” mentioned above. This is a group which advocates for “impos[ing] a political cost on the Left’s anti-family extremism,” adding “If they want to attack parental rights, confuse young children about changing their gender, undermine the ability of parents to protect their children’s innocence, or drive a wedge between parents and children in education, then they are going to be punished at the polls.” Its website contains petitions entitled, “THANK YOU GOVERNOR DESANTIS FOR PROTECTING FEMALE ATHLETES!”; “PETITION: KEEP “THE 1619 PROJECT” OUT OF SCHOOLS” and questions like ” Do Joe Biden and Sen. Gary Peters support the Black Lives Matter organization?” and “Do Joe Biden and Sen. Gary Peters want to teach our kids that America is evil?” So yeah, this group is about as hard-right as they come.
As for the poll itself, it asks a bunch of inaccurate and wildly biased (towards the right) questions such as:
- “If you learned that Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe opposed the proposals that shift funding from the school systems to students, would you be more or less likely to support him?”;
- “Critical Race Theory is an academic discipline based on the concept that race should be taken into consideration for all aspects of Americans daily lives. Critical Race Theory teaches young white children that they are oppressors due to the color of their skin and teaches young minority children that they are victims trapped in a system rigged against them. Do you think that “Critical Race Theory” should be taught in Virginia’s public schools?”;
- “Democrat candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe has refused to condemn “Critical Race Theory” and called it a “right-wing conspiracy theory” despite the fact that it is actively being taught in Virginia public schools. Does this make you more likely or less likely to support Terry McAuliffe?”;
- “Do you approve of policies that would allow biologically male students that identify as transgender to participate in girls’ sports programs at Virginia K-12 public schools?”
With that background in mind, the results of the poll are highly encouraging for Terry McAuliffe and Virginia House Democrats:
- Joe Biden’s approval rating in Virginia is 54%-45% (+9 points)
- The initial ballot-test question, prior to the heavily right-wing/”push-poll”-style questions, has Terry McAuliffe up 5 points (46.4%-41.3%) over Glenn Youngkin, and VA House Democrats up 4+ points (45.4%-41.1%) over VA House Republicans.
- Even after the heavily right-wing-biased/”push poll”-style questions, McAuliffe STILL leads Youngkin by 3 points (45.8%-42.9%).
- Also of interest: 44.4% think schools should be fully open without mask mandates this fall, with 29.2% who supports fully reopening schools WITH mask mandates, and 25.7% favoring schools giving parents the option of virtual or in-person learning.
- Just over 50% approve of Virginia’s K-12 school system, with 35% disapproving and 14% unsure.
- After being read a heavily biased, inaccurate, “push-poll”-style question against “Critical Race Theory,” the poll finds 26.3% support teaching it in Virginia public schools (note: there’s no evidence that “CRT” is taught in Virginia schools), with 58.3% against teaching it in Virginia public schools.
- Again, after being read a heavily biased question about “transgender sports,” the poll finds 57% disapproval (and just 23% approval) of “policies that would allow biologically male students that identify as transgender to participate in girls’ sports programs at Virginia K-12 public schools.”
Bottom line: That such a far-right-wing outfit as “Spry Strategies” would find Terry McAuliffe up 5 points is very encouraging – surprising, really – news. But obviously, let’s just keep assuming that this election’s going to be very competitive, especially given Youngkin’s massive personal wealth, and act accordingly!