LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Big Virginia Turnaround? – Latest New Jersey Numbers – Civility – Biden on Issues

Your Daily Polling Update for Friday, October 29, 2021

Up 1 since yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on four polls, ranging from 42% (Rasmussen) to 46% (Politico). Biden’s disapproval rating averages 52% today (down 1 from yesterday). His average rating is now 8 points net negative. 

Among voters statewide

  • (Washington Post, Likely Voters) Terry McAuliffe (D) over Glenn Youngkin (R): +1 (49-48)
  • (Washington Post, Registered Voters) Terry McAuliffe (D) over Glenn Youngkin (R): +3 (47-44)
  • (Fox News, Likely Voters) Glenn Youngkin (R) over Terry McAuliffe (D): +8 (53-45)
  • (Fox News, Registered Voters) Glenn Youngkin (R) over Terry McAuliffe (D): +1 (48-47)

RON’S COMMENT: This Washington Post poll shows what other polls have been showing, a tight race with Democrat McAuliffe either tying or slightly edging Republican Youngkin. But the new Fox News poll shows the race clearly breaking for Youngkin in both of its samples over the last two weeks: McAuliffe’s 5-point lead turned into an 8-point Youngkin lead in Fox’s “likely voter” sample. Among Fox’s “registered voter” sample, McAuliffe’s 11-point lead two weeks ago evaporated into a 1-point lead for Youngkin….Who to believe? We have to wait for more polls to confirm or, heaven’s forbid, the actual Election Day results…. In any case, voter turnout is the key to this race…. Additional insights: 

  • Timeliness: The Fox News poll is a little more recent(Oct. 24-27) than the Washington Post poll (Oct. 20-26); that could account for some of the difference between the two polls and perhaps makes the case that the Fox poll is a slightly better measure of any late-breaking momentum. 
  • Sample composition: The Fox News poll’s “likely voter” sample has more Republicans than Democrats (42% Democrats, 46% Republicans and 12% independents). Without leaners, though, the Fox News “likely voter” sample gives Democrats an edge: 35% Democrats, 33% Republicans and 12% independents…. The Washington Post poll’s “likely voter” sample has more Democrats than Republicans and plenty more independents (34% Democrats, 27% Republicans and 33% independents).
  • Sample size: The Washington Post sample size is 1,107 “registered voters” and 918 “likely voters.” The Fox News poll sample size is 1,212 “registered voters” and 1,015 “likely voters.”
  • Independents: Youngkin has an 18-point lead among independent“likely voters” in the Washington Post poll, and that’s up from an 8-point lead last month––that’s a sizable swing among a crucial group of voters.
  • Enthusiasm: The Fox News poll finds that 79% of Youngkin supporters are “extremely” interested in the election compared to 69% of McAuliffe supporters. 
  • Issues: Over this part month, the Washington Post poll shows education has emerged as the top issue, picked by 24% of voters in October compared to 15% in September. That appears to be helping Youngkin. 
  • Trump’s endorsement: In the Washington Post poll, 53% of “likely voters” say Trump’s endorsementof Youngkin doesn’t matter to them, but 37% say it makes them less likely to vote for Youngkin and 9% say it makes them more likely.
  • Downballot races: The Washington Post poll has Democrat Hala Ayala leading the lieutenant governor race 50-46 and Democratic incumbent Mark Herring leading the AG race 50-44.
  • Measuring likelihood to vote: Polls often report varying results based on likelihood to vote, as the Washington Post poll shows (3 – 1 = 2 points), but it’s rare there is such a wide difference as the Fox poll shows (8 – 1 = 7 points) between its “likely voter” and “registered voter” samples. What this means is that much of Youngkin’s surge in the Fox poll is dependent upon the reliability of that poll’s “likely voter” screen.
  • The Fox News poll was conducted by two polling firms, one Democratic (Beacon) and one Republican (Shaw & Company). Over the past four months, the Fox News poll has given President Biden higher job approval ratings than most other polls have done.

Among voters statewide

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) over Jack Ciatterelli (R): +9 (50-41)
RON’S COMMENT: This Stockton Univ. poll shows Democrat Murphy leading by a clear margin (9 points), although it’s a bit tighter than the Monmouth Univ. poll we reported yesterday which had his margin at 11 points. Other findings from the poll report: 

  • “More voters (45%) thought the state was going in the wrong direction than the right direction (42%), with 13% unsure. But 52% still approved of Murphy’s job performance leading the state as governor, while 44% disapproved.” 
  • “Property taxes (15%) and taxes in general (12%) continue to be a top issue identified by voters, followed by COVID safety (11%) and the economy (8%).” 
  • 39%% of voters watched or listened to at least one of the Murphy-Ciattarelli debates.
  • Only 3% of voters watched or listened to the lieutenant governor debate. 

Among voters nationwide

Do you feel things in the country are going in the right direction, or do you feel things have gotten off on the wrong track?
Right direction: 29%
Wrong track: 63%

Among voters nationwide

No matter what you think about political civility, which of these would you prefer:

  • A politician who consistently fights for my values, even if this means not finding a solution very often: 26%
  • A politician who is willing to work together to get things done, even if it means compromising on my values sometimes: 66%

RON’S COMMENT: Another national poll showing voters prefer compromise over fighting.

Among voters nationwide

% = Approve/Disapprove

  • Economy: 44%/51%
  • Inflation: 34%/59%
  • Dealing with the pandemic: 51%/45%
  • Immigration: 34%/61%
  • Dealing with Afghanistan: 34%/60%
  • Foreign policy: 40%/52%
  • Working with Congress: 43%/51%

RON’S COMMENT: Biden continues to do best on the pandemic––getting an approval rating (51%) close to his 2020 popular vote (51.3%). But on everything else, he’s down in the 40s and 30s. His worst issues are inflation, immigration and Afghanistan.

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
VIRGINIA: Fox News, Oct. 24-27; Washington Post-Schar School, Oct. 20-26
NEW JERSEY: William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy/Stockton Univ., Oct. 17-26 

Publication schedule: Lunchtime Politics publishes when important new polling data is available, usually at least once a week. When we get closer to the next round of elections, we will resume daily publication. Thanks to all our readers and best of health, Ron

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