Exit data shows why Youngkin won Virginia gubernatorial race, handing Dems big loss

Glenn Youngkin, a businessman and first-time politician, beat back the biggest names in the Democratic Party to win the Virginia gubernatorial race on Tuesday, becoming the first Republican to capture a statewide office since 2009.

No less than President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, along with first lady Jill Biden, former President Barack Obama and Georgia voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams all traveled to the state to campaign on behalf of defeated Democratic challenger and former governor Terry McAuliffe.

“You don’t have to wonder what kind of governor Terry will be because you know what a great governor he was,” Biden said last month. “It wasn’t just because of what he promised. It’s what he delivered.”

Biden on Tuesday predicted that Democrats were “going to win in Virginia,” adding that “it is about who shows up.”

But the president’s vote of confidence didn’t help, and none of the party’s other big names were enough to sway voters to McAuliffe. As of Wednesday morning, Youngkin’s victory of roughly 2 points — 50.6 percent to McAuliffe’s 48.6 percent — was holding steady, and most major media outlets had called the race for him.

Exit polling exclusive to BizPac Review had Youngkin winning by a slightly bigger margin, 50.3 percent to 48 percent. More than 53 percent of voters said they had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of the GOP first-timer, versus 46.6 percent who said they had a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of McAuliffe, with Youngkin’s “very favorable” margin far higher than his Democratic challenger, 37-25 percent.

In terms of presidential preference, BizPac Review exiting polling found that 47 percent said they had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Biden versus 42 percent who have a somewhat or very favorable opinion of former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Youngkin, though the GOP candidate kept his distance from Trump.

The 45th president also had a higher unfavorable rating than Biden — 49.2 percent to 46.3 percent — the exit polling found.

A number of Republicans congratulated Youngkin Tuesday evening after media outlets began calling the race for him.

“I was proud to endorse @GlennYoungkin,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., noted in a tweet. “His win tonight is a clear and much needed signal for personal freedom and that parents are the deciders of their children’s education and future.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) laid Youngkin’s victory at the feet of Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who last month ordered the Justice Department and FBI to work with local law enforcement to target parental behavior at school board meetings.

“Congratulations to Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares on their resounding victories,” Cotton noted on Twitter. “Virginians will benefit from their leadership. Thank you to Biden & Garland for the assist! Concerned parents don’t like being called domestic terrorists. Who could’ve guessed?”

The Loudoun County, Va., school district has become ground zero for a parental revolt over left-wing education curriculum including critical race theory and transgender policies that some have blamed on a pair of sexual assaults against female students. Youngkin ran on a platform to rid public schools of the materials, while McAuliffe insisted parents had no right to decide how their children should be taught.

“Congratulations to Governor @GlennYoungkinon a HUGE victory! Glenn will serve the people of Old Dominion well with common sense Conservative policies that will benefit parents, families, and hard-working Virginians! The Conservative Comeback is HERE!,” added former Vice President Mike Pence.

BPR’s Exclusive Exit Poll Reports by BPR on Scribd

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Jon Dougherty

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