Short of an extraordinary surge with working-class whites in southwest Virginia, I do not see where Glenn Youngkin is getting the votes needed to beat Terry McAuliffe.

Every poll shows him losing college voters by ~20 points. And he's not even trying to cut that margin down.
College voters are anywhere between 47-53% of an off-year electorate in Virginia (this stuff is impossible to estimate precisely but we can be decently confident it's in that ballpark). In polls of likely and registered voters both, McAuliffe is keeping that margin near Biden's.
The next lane for Youngkin would be to hope Black turnout craters while his base of rural whites turn out to an extraordinary degree. That's plausible, but it's not really the strategy you want to rely on, especially considering his base isn't exactly reliable with voting.
He's kind of in between a rock and a hard place here.

Try to pivot to the moderate lane in a last-minute bid to win votes and you risk not only being seen as insincere, but alienating your core base of voters.

Try to embrace the far-right and you're underwater in NOVA.

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More from @lxeagle17

24 Sep
On Cook's #VAGov ratings change:

What has to happen in Virginia is a combination of 3 things: McAuliffe significantly lags Biden margins with educated whites, gets low Black turnout, and faces high rural GOP turnout.

Could that happen? Definitely. Is that likely? IMO no.
Depths of the realignment in Virginia can't really be overstated here. Wexton won by 13 as Biden won by 19, and in this era of polarization, I veer towards thinking Wexton's numbers are near the floor for McAuliffe in that district, especially given his quasi-incumbency.
At the end of the day, I still think it's too big of a lift for Youngkin to successfully manage this. I'm not stupid enough to say it can't happen, because it absolutely can, but I'd be a bit wary of saying that it's a tossup (our model actually still has it as likely Democratic)
Read 5 tweets
24 Sep
If I had to take a crack at the Senate map for next year, this is probably what I think my ratings are *at the moment*. Could argue with some of these, but largely just depends on the national environment.

Also: lean is not safe. Not saying Dems can't win WI or Rs can't win NH.
Wisconsin's low vaccination rates give me a lot of pause. Can Barnes stop the driftless from sliding to the right? I don't think so. Can he make enough inroads in Milwaukee's suburbs to counter it? Maybe, but it won't be easy.
North Carolina: if Rs nominate McCrory to go against Beasley, this could end up being a tougher play than the GOP would like and I can see an argument for Ds being favored given that Beasley can drive up Black turnout strongly while maintaining decent margins with educated whites
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep
Some bizarre things:

(1) the reported results are among *adults*, not RVs
(2) Poll doesn't weight by education, vax rate, party, or region.
(3) Adult sample is only Biden +7
(4) "Do you consider yourself a white (Hispanic/Latino) or a black (Hispanic/Latino)?" is a question?
There's very few universes in which a 55% college-educated electorate votes for Glenn Youngkin by 5 points in 2021.

It's also a bit of a stretch for me to think that in a state that was Biden +10, the *likely voter electorate* is Biden +1.
I think what's happened here is fairly simple: this agency does not appear to have the slightest idea as to what they're doing (they're not even listed on 538 as a pollster from what I can find?)
Read 5 tweets
21 Sep
If you can look past the media noise, Biden's disapproval has slowly narrowed of late on 538, from 4.5 points underwater at its worst to 2.3 points as of today (9/21).

Will be interesting to see how this progresses.
Polls are a snapshot in time.

He'll probably bump back into the green at some point IMO. The historical levels of polarization we have today makes his floor significantly higher than people might expect. As campaigning kicks off for 2022, it might stabilize a bit more.
The bigger question here is whether a change like this is evidence of any meaningful, sustained movement back or whether it's just randomness bouncing it around. Good cases for either, but whatever the answer, it'll probably be drowned out by what happens with infra/debt ceiling.
Read 4 tweets
20 Sep
The Canadian election is probably a bit more important, but for those curious, @Thorongil16 and I have an update to our #VAGov model with the Washington Post D+3 poll from Friday.

Our forecast is Democrats winning by 7.3, with an 80% chance of victory.
@Thorongil16 This race has stayed remarkably stable, with few real swings in polling. Even the WaPo D+3 poll was really because of an incredibly R-friendly LV screen that appears to have oversampled non-college whites via a new polling technique. The poll of registered voters was D+6.
There is little in my mind that suggests that this race has substantially changed in the last month. If Biden's approval plunges to around ~42% on FiveThirtyEight or something, we could be in for a very real race. But until then, this race remains likely Democratic.
Read 4 tweets
20 Sep
It won't matter as much as the generic national political environment will in 2022, but if the GOP reliance on election day votes doesn't let up a little, it's not hard to imagine it being a little costly in some areas where the weather isn't all that great on November 8, 2022.
These types of things are *significantly* less important than the overall national political environment. But let's say a storm hits in an area where a key seat is up for grabs. What then? Not everyone who would have voted will. Rita Hart lost by 6 votes in 2020.
Overall, it's just hard to escape the thought that the GOP have likely cost themselves some close seats somewhere thanks to the lies about mail ballots that they've been pushing among their base. It's just that the ones they do cost will depend on the national environment.
Read 4 tweets

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