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McAuliffe leads Youngkin in new CNU poll; Ayala, Herring up on GOP rivals

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McAuliffe Youngkin

McAuliffe and Youngkin

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Glenn Youngkin outside the margin of error, according to a new poll from Christopher Newport University.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, received 50% to 41% for Youngkin, with 6% undecided, according to the survey of 800 likely voters, conducted Aug. 15 to 23, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

All three Democratic statewide candidates hold leads over their Republican counterparts heading into the homestretch of the fall campaign, according to the survey out Thursday from CNU and AARP Virginia.

McAuliffe, governor from 2014 to 2018, is seeking to become the first governor with a second stint in the Executive Mansion since Mills Godwin, who served as a Democrat from 1966 to 1970 and as a Republican from 1974 to 1978.

Youngkin is a former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm based in Washington.

While Youngkin holds a 16-point edge in southern and Southwest Virginia, the survey found that McAuliffe holds leads in the populous urban crescent. The Democrat is up 26 points in Northern Virginia, eight points in the Richmond area and 11 points in Hampton Roads.

“These numbers reflect a state that continues to trend blue in presidential and statewide elections as demographic shifts endure in the Commonwealth,” said Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, research director at CNU's Wason Center.

“While there is still room for movement in the race, Youngkin has a tightrope to walk between Trump supporters and more moderate voters across the suburbs of Virginia.”

Virginia and New Jersey are the only states that elect a governor a year after a presidential election, which means the contest draws national scrutiny and brisk fundraising a year ahead of congressional midterms.

Collectively, McAuliffe and Youngkin had raised $40 million through the end of June, more than doubling the previous record for a Virginia gubernatorial campaign at that stage, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

In the contest for lieutenant governor, Del. Hala Ayala, D-Prince William, received 52% to 42% for Republican Winsome Sears, a business owner and former delegate, with 6% undecided.

Democrat Mark Herring, seeking a third term as attorney general, received 53% to 41% for Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, with 6% undecided.

A poll that Virginia Commonwealth University released last week showed McAuliffe and Youngkin in a close contest, with McAuliffe receiving 40% and Youngkin 37% among likely voters, with 23% undecided. A separate poll that Roanoke College released last week showed McAuliffe receiving 46% to 38% for Youngkin, with 13% undecided.

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