Parental outrage, President Joe Biden’s plummeting approval scores, and financial uncertainty have all formed Virginia’s gubernatorial contest in its turbulent last weeks, throughout which Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin have polled lifeless even in a state the place Republicans haven’t received an election for statewide workplace since 2009.
McAuliffe has labored all 12 months to nationalize the race and paint Youngkin as a part of a broader GOP that has grow to be too radical to manipulate. That technique could possibly be backfiring within the final stretch of the race, because the nationwide outlook for the Democratic Occasion has worsened since McAuliffe started that method.
Youngkin has pursued a virtually reverse path, remaining targeted nearly solely on Virginia-specific points and eschewing the celebrities of his get together whereas McAuliffe campaigns throughout the state alongside big-name Democrats.
Listed below are 5 of the most important points driving the race.
Maybe no different situation animated Virginian voters extra intensely than schooling, which first took middle stage within the spring and summer season when dad and mom in prosperous Loudoun County began pushing again on what they stated have been plans to show essential race concept.
Mother and father additionally fought bitterly over a controversial transgender coverage in Loudoun County colleges in addition to COVID-19 restrictions in Virginia lecture rooms.
Polling suggests Youngkin’s laser deal with schooling within the last stretch of the race has dissolved the wholesome lead McAuliffe loved in polls as just lately as early October.
Youngkin has put McAuliffe on protection on the problem since late September, when the previous Democratic governor commented throughout a gubernatorial debate that oldsters mustn’t inform colleges what they need to educate.
The Youngkin marketing campaign shortly lower an advert that includes the remark and put important sources behind it, forcing Youngkin later to drop a spot wherein he claimed Youngkin had taken his phrases about dad and mom “out of context.”
Youngkin has efficiently remodeled the battle over how race needs to be taught in colleges, amongst different latest schooling battles, from tradition struggle flashpoints to broader discussions about how a lot enter dad and mom deserve in terms of public education.
His deal with the problem might present a highway map for Republicans within the midterm elections who want to claw again help amongst suburban voters who drifted away from the get together in the course of the Trump years.
McAuliffe has spent a lot of the race making an attempt to tie Youngkin to former President Donald Trump, despite the fact that Youngkin has few apparent Trump ties.
The previous president endorsed Youngkin earlier this 12 months however has not appeared on his behalf. Youngkin has averted mere mentions of Trump within the last days of the race, and he has particularly rebutted Trump’s claims of a stolen election in 2020.
Even so, McAuliffe has labored to border Youngkin as a Trump acolyte who is simply too excessive to be trusted with the governorship.
Biden amplified that message earlier this week when he campaigned alongside McAuliffe in Virginia and repeatedly invoked Trump, in addition to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whereas taking few direct swipes at Youngkin.
Voters throughout the nation are more and more involved with public security amid a nationwide rise in crime, and the Virginia race has additionally touched on the problem .
Youngkin has polled nicely amongst voters involved with crime. A Fox Information ballot launched on Thursday confirmed Youngkin with a 12-point benefit over McAuliffe on the query of who voters belief extra to deal with crime.
A state invoice regarding crime in colleges has additionally been some extent of dialogue within the race, significantly after an argument in Loudoun County over an alleged cover-up of sexual assaults in colleges.
Final 12 months, Democrats handed H.B. 257, a bit of state laws that gave college districts discretion over whether or not they report sexual battery and different misdemeanors to legislation enforcement after they happen on college grounds.
The invoice has acquired renewed scrutiny in mild of the Loudoun County incident and amid the intense highlight on public security and colleges.
McAuliffe has accused Youngkin of being anti-vaccination and insufficiently severe about stopping the unfold of COVID-19.
His deal with the problem initially appeared to spice up his polling. Nonetheless, in latest surveys, fewer voters have cited the pandemic as a high concern, and Youngkin has gained floor on the query of whether or not voters belief him to deal with the pandemic.
Youngkin has inspired vaccinations however has said opposition to imposing vaccine mandates throughout the state.
McAuliffe’s marketing campaign has stated he would “incentivize companies to mandate vaccines for workers” and push college districts to require vaccines for employees.
COST OF LIVING
The drop in Biden’s approval scores has been pushed largely by rising inflation and provide chain issues which are already inflicting shortages forward of the vacations, and the upper price of dwelling has sparked considerations amongst Virginia voters as nicely.
Within the Fox Information ballot revealed on Thursday, Youngkin had an 11-point benefit with voters on the query of who they belief extra on the economic system.
Youngkin has caught to an economy-and-education-focused message that has closely promoted his enterprise background as proof he’ll create extra jobs within the state.
McAuliffe has pointed to the financial successes that occurred when he was governor of the state to argue he can replicate that if given one other time period.
Republican pollster Glen Bolger advised the Washington Examiner earlier this week that knowledge recommend growing fears about inflation have boosted Youngkin amongst suburban Virginia voters.