Republican Glenn Youngkin bested Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race, racking up strong margins among reliably Republican groups — plus making inroads among key Democratic constituencies.
Youngkin, a former businessman, became the first Republican to win statewide office in Virginia since Bob McDonnell won the governorship in 2009. President Biden won the state by 10 points a year ago, and outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam won by 9 points in 2017.
McAuliffe won the 2013 governor’s race by 3 points and was attempting to pull off a rare feat this time around: Virginia has had just one governor elected to multiple terms in office since the 1860s.
FOX NEWS VOTER ANALYSIS ON VIRGINIA GOVERNOR’S RACE
Near-final data from the Fox News Voter Analysis , a survey of more than 2,600 Virginia voters, sheds light on the key themes underlying the election and the demographics of each candidate’s support. Virginia Republican Glenn Youngkin, left, stressed a campaign approach that differed from that of Democrat Terry McAulifee. Two approaches
Throughout the campaign, McAuliffe sought to cast Youngkin as overly supportive of former President Trump. Youngkin, on the other hand, emphasized tax cuts, education, and tried to tap into the feeling that the country was on the wrong track under Biden. Youngkin’s approach was more successful, leading to an upset victory in a state that has trended Democratic in recent years.
Overall, voters said the economy was the top issue facing the state, followed distantly by the pandemic and education. McAuliffe won pandemic voters by a wide margin, but Youngkin carried the day by winning economy voters by 27 points and education voters by an even wider margin.
Sparring over mask mandates, critical race theory, and parental input pushed education to the center of the race. It took on particular importance after the final gubernatorial debate, in which McAuliffe said parents "shouldn’t be telling schools what they should teach."
Youngkin promised to ban the teaching of critical race theory and empower parents in decisions about education.
One-quarter of voters cited the debate over teaching critical race theory as the single most important factor to their vote for governor, and they backed the Republican by more than 2-to-1. Parents who said CRT was the single most important factor to their vote went for the Republican by a narrower 25-point margin.
The debate over controlling the spread of COVID-19 in schools was much more favorable ground for McAuliffe. He advocated for a statewide mask mandate for students, while Youngkin held that decisions on masking should be left to parents.
Six-in-10 sided with McAuliffe on the issue.
More than one-quarter said handling coronavirus in schools was the most important factor to their vote, and they broke heavily for McAuliffe.Parents for whom COVID was the most important factor went for the Democrat by 24 points.Overall, Youngkin won parents by a very narrow margin. Taxes, taxes, taxes Youngkin campaigned on cutting taxes, including eliminating state and local taxes on groceries and delaying a scheduled increase in gas taxes. That helped him to a […]