Sabato's 'crystal ball' changes Virginia election forecast to favor a Youngkin victory

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A prominent elections forecaster has changed the Virginia governor’s race on the eve of Election Day from leaning for Democrat Terry McAuliffe to favoring Republican Glenn Youngkin.

The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics changed its rating from “Lean D” to “Lean R” in its latest rating in political scientist Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” forecast.

The authors of the newsletter cited national implications, such as President Biden’s plummeting approval ratings, as well as the stalemate in Congress over the president’s domestic agenda, as factors that could hurt Mr. McAuliffe‘s chances.

McAuliffe will need some Biden disapprovers to win — there may be some disaffected Democrats who nonetheless will vote for McAuliffe, but in a nationalized era, having to win presidential disapprovers is difficult for any candidate,” the post stated.

Despite leading in polls for months, Mr. McAuliffe is deadlocked with Mr. Youngkin in most recent polls.

Both candidates are at 48%, according to an Emerson College/Nexstar poll.

That poll, conducted Oct. 22-23, surveyed 875 very likely Virginia voters and had an error margin of +/-3.2%.

Mr. McAuliffe has let his anxiety manifest in campaign fundraising emails that often bear a subject line indicating fear of creeping polls.

Terry‘s in trouble, and Trumpism is on the rise in Virginia,” an October email reads. “Don’t believe me? Just look at the polls! Almost every poll out of the Virginia governor’s race has the election a statistical tie – with Youngkin even ahead in two recent polls!!”

Mr. McAuliffe also canceled an event set to take place in Virginia Beach on Monday, though the campaign did not provide a reason.

But he will appear in other areas of the state, and also campaigned in Richmond and Roanoke.

The Democrat is expected to end his day at a get-out-the-vote rally in Fairfax County.

Mr. McAuliffe previously served as governor from 2014 to 2018. Virginia law bars governors from running for consecutive terms, but they may do so at a later date.

Early voting closed on Saturday. Polls open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

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