Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are locked in a dead heat in the race for the Virginia governor’s chair, with the final days of the campaign season closing with what appears to be a near-perfect tossup between the two.
A Washington Post-Schar School poll released Friday showed McAuliffe just one point ahead of Youngkin, 49% - 48%, well within the margin of error and indicating a significant problem for McAuliffe, who was earlier favored to win the race.
Election Day is Tuesday.
In recent weeks McAuliffe’s standing has taken a hit as Youngkin has aggressively pursued messaging on education, slamming state officials for promoting Critical Race Theory in Virginia and promising to outlaw the divisive academic theory in classrooms around the state.
McAuliffe was widely seen to have committed a major gaffe when he argued in early October that "parents [shouldn’t] be telling schools what they should teach." The Democrat’s favorability rating among parents with school-age children has been significantly lower than Youngkin’s in the weeks since that remark.
McAuliffe has brought in big-name Democrats to help boost his campaign, including President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and Georgia Democratic superstar Stacey Abrams.
The race is seen by many commentators as a critical referendum on the earliest days of Biden’s presidency; a Youngkin victory is predicted to serve as a sharp rebuke of Democrats’ agendas in both Virginia and nationwide.