A new poll shows Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin seizing the lead for the first time in the race against Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia.
Mr. Youngkin edged out Mr. McAuliffe 43% to 41% with 11% of respondents still up for grabs less than two weeks out from Election Day, according to the survey for the conservative Presidential Coalition.
The lead was within the polls 3.8% margin of error.
“With neither candidate close to 50% of the vote, and a flood of ads, candidate appeals and heavy-hitter surrogates expected to visit the state as Youngkin and McAuliffe make their final appeals, this is anyone’s race,” said pollster Kellyanne Conway, who conducted the survey. “In a state that Biden-Harris won by 10% a year ago and where McAuliffe was governor for four years, Youngkin has made the race competitive.”
The findings, first reported by The Washinton Times, mark a shift from a month ago when the same survey showed Mr. McAuliffe with a 4-point lead.
The poll was conducted by Ms. Conway‘s KAConsulting LLC from Oct. 18 to Oct. 21. It showed Ms. Youngkin‘s focus on education is resonating with voters and that Mr. McAuliffe‘s comments on the subject have hurt him.
Nearly 1 in 4 voters said they were less likely to vote for Mr. McAuliffe after he said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Mr. McAulliffe has since been on the defensive and is scrambling to regain momentum in a race that Democrats fear could be slipping away.
A Monmouth University Poll released this week showed the race is a dead heat with 46% of registered voters lining up behind both Mr. Youngkin and Mr. McAuliffe. The Democrat held a 5-point lead in the September and August polls.
Mr. McAuliffe is hoping that visits from President Biden and former President Obama over the coming days will bolster his chances in the final stretch of the campaign.
Mr. Biden’s star power, however, has been waning.
The Presidential Coalition survey found his approval rating is underwater in Virginia with 45% approving and 50% disapproving — including 44% of respondents who “strongly disapprove.”
Mr. Youngkin was seen as the strongest candidate on the economy and as the “you believe will make sure that parents have a say on where their children go to school and what is taught to their children in school.”
The Presidential Coalition was founded in 2005 by David Bossie, who served as deputy campaign manager for former President Trump’s successful 2016 campaign.
Ms. Conway served as a senior counselor to Mr. Trump.