Home 2023 Elections Highlights From the New WaPo/Schar Virginia Poll: Dems Lead (47%-43% Among RVs,...

Highlights From the New WaPo/Schar Virginia Poll: Dems Lead (47%-43% Among RVs, 47%-45% Among LVs), “But we can’t take anything for granted”

Youngkin's net approval rating, while positive, is at best "meh" compared to other VA governor's...

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Late yesterday, the WaPo/Schar School came out with a new Virginia poll, one that’s generally good news for Democrats. See below for a few highlights and thoughts.

  • 65% of Virginia voters say they’re following the Virginia elections for General Assembly “closely.” That compares to just 47% in late September 2019 and 38% in early October 2007 (also, 65% in late September 2021 and 79% in late October 2021 – a much-higher-turnout gubernatorial election year, not an “off-odd” election year like 2023, 2019 and 2007). For those of us who have been trying for years to persuade people that these state legislative races are CRUCIAL, that’s great to see.
  • 71% of Virginia voters say they are “absolutely certain” to vote, with another 11% saying they “will probably vote.” That adds up to 82% turnout if everyone’s telling the truth. That seems implausible, though, given that 82% would be higher than even presidential-election turnout levels (e.g., 75% in 2020, 72% in 2016).
  • Among those saying they’re planning to vote, 57% plan to do so on Election Day, with 33% planning to vote early and 7% saying they’ve already voted. The in-person vote percentage is up from October 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic, when just 46% said they were planning to vote in person.
  • Democrats hold a 47%-43% lead among registered voters on the “generic” ballot question for House of Delegates, and a 47%-45% lead among LIKELY voters. The Democrats’ 4-point lead among registered voters compares to a 7-point lead in late September 2019, an election where Democrats picked up six House of Delegates seats to get to a 55-45 majority. Also note that the gap between the Democrats’ lead among registered voters and likely voters means the focus of Democrats in the remaining 2+ weeks until 11/7 should be on TURNOUT TURNOUT TURNOUT. Oh yeah, did I mention TURNOUT? LOL
  • Top issues for voters include the economy (where, by the way, Democrats are MUCH better than Republicans, based on voluminous eveidence, even if many voters don’t believe that thanks to the media, etc.), abortion (where Democrats have a big advantage in the poll), education (Democrats are infinitely better than Republicans on this issue, while voters are pretty split on which party they believe is better), gun policy (again, Democrats are much better on this than Republicans, while voters are pretty split yet again), crime and safety (Democrats are better on this too, despite irresponsible media reporting to the contrary), etc.
  • By a 48%-43% margin, voters think that “Republicans having control
    of both houses of the state legislature in addition to the governor’s office” would be a “bad thing.” In fact, a Republican trifecta would be an unmitigated DISASTER for Virginia in just about every way.
  • Glenn Youngkin’s 54%-38% (+16 pts) approval rating seems strong at first glance, but…note that Ralph Northam’s highest net approval was +18 pts; Terry McAuliffe’s was +24 pts; Bob McDonnell’s was +38 pts; Tim Kaine’s was +58 pts; Mark Warner’s was +63 pts; Jim Gilmore’s was +50 pts; George Allen’s was +41 pts, etc. See graphic, below, to illustrate this.
  • On abortion, only 24% of Virginia voters want laws to be “more strict,” with 24% saying “less strict” and 49% wanting them to “remain as they are.” And on Youngkin’s 15-week abortion ban idea, voters are split, 46%-47%. The problem, of course, is that if Republicans have a “trifecta,” there is essentially ZERO CHANCE they’d stop at 15 weeks, but instead would push to ban abortion completely (or nearly completely), and possibly even go after some forms of birth control. In short, the 15-week-ban idea is simply Youngkin’s cynical, poll-tested, focus-grouped way to try and “gaslight” Virginia voters, then once elected, push for his actual, hardline, anti-abortion stances to be enacted into law. Do NOT let that happen!
  • Bottom line: As the Arlington Dems put it – “This new Washington Post poll shows Democrats are ahead this year in Virginia. But we can’t take anything for granted. Let’s close this election out strong and make Virginia go blue.”

P.S. Compare this poll to CNU/Wason Center’s poll earlier this week, which had Dems up 1 point (42%-41%) in the “generic” ballot question, and – in some contrast to the WaPo/Schar poll – found that “70% of  Democratic likely voters indicate they have given the upcoming General Assembly elections either a lot of thought (37%) or some thought (33%) compared to 61% of Republicans (30% a lot of thought, 31% some thought).”

P.P.S. If Dems *were* to end up winning by 4 points, it’s quite possible they could end up with a 23-17 or 24-16 Senate majority (if Dems win SD17 and/or SD27) and as high as 55-45 (although I still think that’s unlikely) in the House of Delegates. Something to shoot for!

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