Photo: Shawn Nowlin

A new statewide poll shows Democratic candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general all holding comfortable over the Republican ticket — in large part the product of Virginia’s continuing population and demographic shifts. For governor, the Wason Center Poll from Christopher Newport University shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe with 50% percent support among likely voters, Republican Glenn Youngkin with 41%. The Democratic leads for lieutenant governor and attorney general are slightly larger, and the margins are in keeping with recent Virginia statewide election results. Wason Center analysts say Republicans can still win in Virginia this year, but they must now overcome built-in challenges. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

NEWS RELEASE: NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and his Democratic running mates hold significant leads over Glenn Youngkin and the Republican ticket as campaigning swings into high gear for the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election, according to a survey of likely voters released today by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership and AARP Virginia.

McAuliffe reaches the 50% threshold over Youngkin, 50% to 41%. He shows particularly strong support from women (55% to 36%) and younger voters (52% to 34%), and also leads Youngkin among voters 50 and older (49% t0 44%). Youngkin has very solid support from the Republican base (95%). Regionally, Youngkin is strongest in South/Southwestern Virginia (53% to 37%), while McAuliffe has strong support in Northern Virginia (59% to 33%), the Richmond area (48% to 40%) and Hampton Roads (52% to 41%).

“These numbers reflect a state that continues to trend blue in presidential and statewide elections as demographic shifts endure in the Commonwealth,” said Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo. “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.”

In the contest for lieutenant governor, Democratic Del. Hala Ayala leads former Republican Del. Winsome Sears by 10 points (52% to 42%), with 6% undecided. Ayala’s support is driven primarily by younger voters (57% to 35%), Black voters (84% to 6%) and women (55% to 38%). Sears holds the Republican base (95%), voters in the South/Southwest region (54% to 37%) and a slight majority of white voters (51% to 44%).

Seeking a third term as attorney general, Democratic incumbent Mark Herring stands in majority territory, leading Republican Del. Jason Miyares, 53% to 41%, with 6% undecided. Among the conventional Democratic base of women, Black voters and younger voters, incumbent Herring’s support slightly outperforms his running mates higher on the ballot.

“It’s a long way to Election Day,” said AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau. ”Candidates should take the opportunity to talk with voters about the issues important to them.” AARP Virginia will later release the additional research in this survey that explores how voters across the state feel about – and expect candidates to address – key health and financial security challenges that impact Virginians of all ages.

The results of this survey are based on 800 Virginia registered voters who are likely general election voters, including 277 on landline and 523 on cell phone, conducted Aug. 15-23, 2021. The margin of error for the whole survey is +/- 3.6%.