According to election handicapper Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the energy in the Virginia governor race has completely shifted towards Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin. In their “final thoughts” column just hours before election day, they changed their prediction from the “Leans Democratic” column to “Leans Republican.”
“Youngkin has the enthusiasm, the environment, the history, and perhaps even the issues (given his focus on education and its increasing salience in polling),” they say on CenterForPolitics.com.
“McAuliffe has the state’s Democratic lean in his favor. However, we do feel we owe it to readers to push this race one way or the other and not just move it to a Toss-up rating at the end,” they added. “So we’re moving from Leans Democratic to Leans Republican.”
In their writeup, they also give a heads up about what to expect in terms of the speed of returns coming in. They note that the mail in results will likely come in quicker than the 2020 election:
“A couple of additional things to watch tomorrow: Because of changes to Virginia law, mail-in and early ballots will be tabulated more quickly than in 2020, so instead of the Republicans jumping out to an early lead, Democrats are likely to. Then it will be a question of whether Youngkin catches up to and passes McAuliffe, and there may be late drama depending on the rhythm of the vote count. Also, for all of the focus on the suburbs, keep an eye on the red, rural counties in central and western Virginia. The turnout and the GOP performance in those areas are a very important part of this story too. So too is Democratic turnout and performance in heavily Black areas, particularly in the Greater Richmond and Hampton Roads regions. In an election that has the potential to be extremely close, it’s never just one place or one group that decides the outcome,” they said.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball are the only ones who think Younkin is going to reign victorious on Tuesday. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also believes he will win.
“Well, if Youngkin wins, which I think he will, [it’s because he’s] “talking about real life. He’s talking about jobs, he’s talking about children, he’s talking about safety, he’s talking about schools,” Gingrich told Fox News on Sunday.
“McAuliffe’s commercials are very political. Glenn Youngkin’s talking about real life … and I think it partially explains why McAuliffe is losing,” Gingrich added. “He’s lost in a world of fantasy that really matters to the left-wing Democrats but really doesn’t matter to the average Virginian.”
“No matter how blue you are as a Democrat, [it’s] the green you’re paying at the gas station – I filled up my truck yesterday, and it was $79,” Gingrich continued.
Take a look at his full remarks below:
“I think that McAuliffe had the disadvantage of reality coming out. So after he makes his really bad comment that parents shouldn’t be involved in education, you suddenly have the Loudoun County school board turns out to be liars, turns out that they knew about the rape of the young girl in the girls’ room by a guy in a dress. They transferred the guy to another school where he then assaulted another girl, and they have internal messages that have now become public where they clearly knew all this while they lied to the public and they lied to the parents about it,” Gingrich also said.
“All of that undermines McAuliffe. And you saw the poll numbers shift very dramatically as … the violence in the schools became bigger, McAuliffe went down,” he concluded.
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