Speed Reads

Poll Watch

The Virginia governor race is now exactly tied after a brutal Fox News poll for Democrat Terry McAuliffe

The high-stakes Virginia gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin has been narrowing in recent weeks, and now it couldn't get much tighter. After a Fox News poll on Thursday gave Youngkin an 8 percentage point likely-voter lead over McAuliffe — versus McAuliffe's 5-point lead in the same poll two weeks ago — the two candidates are now tied at 47.1 percent each in the FiveThirtyEight polling average. Youngking has a 0.4-point lead in the RealClearPolitics average.

"What changed? GOP enthusiasm," Fox News explains. "Likely voters are a subgroup of registered voters, identified mainly based on self-reported vote intention and interest in the election," and 79 percent of Youngkin supporters are "extremely" interested in the election, versus 69 percent of McAuliffe supporters. Youngkin also leads McAuliffe among registered voters polled, but by just 1 point. 

"With the race essentially tied among the full registered voter universe, McAuliffe could still pull this off," says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducted the Fox News poll with GOP pollster Daron Shaw. "But it would take something big to ignite enthusiasm for McAuliffe's candidacy and a massively effective get-out-the-vote effort." The election is Nov. 2.

The Fox News poll was conducted Oct. 24-27 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Co. (R). The pollsters interviewed 1,212 Virginia registered voters, including 1,015 likely voters. The margin of sampling error is ±2.5 percentage points for registered voters and ±3 points for likely voters.