August 26, 2021

Wason-AARP Virginia General Election

"McAuliffe leads Youngkin, 50%-41%, for Va. governor; Democrats lead for lieutenant governor, attorney general"

Summary of Key Findings

  1. Former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Glenn Youngkin, 50% to 41%, among Virginia likely voters, with 6% undecided.
  2. Seeking a third term, current Attorney General Mark Herring leads Republican Jason Miyares, 53% to 41%, with 6% undecided.
  3. For lieutenant governor, Democrat Hala Ayala leads Republican Winsome Sears, 52% to 42%, with 6% undecided.
  4. Democrats lead Republicans by 7 points among likely voters on the generic ballot test for the House of Delegates, 50% to 43%.


As the sprint to Election Day begins, Democrats hold significant leads in all three statewide races, and lead the generic ballot for the House of Delegates, according to the results of this AARP Virginia and Wason Center for Civic Leadership poll of likely voters in the Nov. 2 general election. All three Democrats’ leads exceed the survey’s +/- 3.6% margin of error.

Governor’s race: Former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe reaches the 50% threshold in leading Republican Glenn Youngkin, 50% to 41%, in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. McAuliffe is doing particularly well among women (55% to 36%) and younger voters (52% to 34%), while Youngkin has very solid support from the Republican base (95%). Regionally, Youngkin is strongest in South/Southwestern Virginia (53% to 37%), while McAuliffe does well 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.”

Lieutenant Governor’s race: 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%).

Attorney General’s race: Seeking a third term as attorney general, Democratic incumbent Mark Herring has a solid lead over 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.

House of Delegates generic ballot: Democrats hold a 7-point advantage (50% to 43%) on the generic ballot test, which asks voters if they will cast their vote for the Republican or Democratic Party’s House of Delegates candidate in the Nov. 2 election. All 100 seats in the House are up for election.

How the survey was conducted:

The results of this poll are based on 800 interviews of registered Virginia voters who are likely general election voters, including 277 on landline and 523 on cell phone, conducted August 15-23, 2021. A likely general election voter is one who has voted in at least two of the last four general elections or is newly registered in the last 12 months and indicates they are enthusiastic and plan to vote in the upcoming November 2 election. The margin of error for the whole survey is +/-3.6% at the 95% level of confidence. This means that if 50% of respondents indicate a topline view on an issue, we can be 95% confident that the population’s view on that issue is somewhere between 46.4% and 53.6%. The margin of error for subgroups may be higher. All error margins have been adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, which is 1.1 in this survey. The design effect is a factor representing the survey’s deviation from a simple random sample and takes into account decreases in precision due to sample design and weighting procedures. In addition to sampling error, the other potential sources of error include non-response, question wording, and interviewer error. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding. The response rate (AAPOR RRI Standard Definition) for the survey was 12%. Five callbacks were employed in the fielding process. Live calling was conducted by Dynata. The data reported here are weighted using an iterative weighting process on region, age, race, sex, and education to reflect as closely as possible the population of Virginia’s November 2, 2021 electorate.

For further information contact:

Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, Research Lab Director
Office: (757) 594-9140

Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director
Office: (757) 594-8499
Mobile: (757) 775-6932

Ginger Thompson, AARP Virginia Communications Director
Office: (804) 344-3061

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