As part of his analysis of the upcoming gubernatorial race in Virginia between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, CNN pollster Harry Enten suggested the Democrat will likely prevail -- in no small part over voters distaste for Donald Trump -- and that it should serve as a warning to the Republican Party.
As Enten notes -- in the case of Virginia -- President Joe Biden's approval numbers are "underwater," which should be bad news for the Democratic candidate, but Trump is widely reviled in the state and is dragging Youngkin down with him after plugging his run.
Writing, "In Virginia, and even nationally on the generic congressional ballot, Democrats are holding onto slim within-the-margin-of-error advantages. Why? It could be in part because former President Donald Trump is unusually present for a politician not in office, and he's as -- if not more -- unpopular than Biden," Enten added that the Democrats should thank their lucky stars that Trump is an anchor around Youngkin's neck.
With that in mind, Enten suggested that no one really has a handle on how Trump will impact elections beyond Virginia's November 15 turn at the polls.
"A CBS News/YouGov poll from Virginia shows just how motivating a factor Trump is in whether voters cast a ballot. A majority of likely voters (51%) said feelings about Trump were very motivating. That's basically the same as the 48% who said the same thing about their feelings toward Biden," he wrote. "Separate polling from a Monmouth University poll in August showed that about the same share of Virginia voters indicated that Trump was a major factor in their 2021 vote as they did in 2017.
"This is something we're seeing nationally as well. Trump continues to cast a shadow in a way I'm not sure we fully appreciate."
"Trump being this much in the spotlight probably hurts Republicans more than it helps. Trump had a -13 point net favorability rating in a Quinnipiac University poll this week. Biden's was -12 points in the same poll. Other polls have Biden's net popularity ratings in a somewhat better, though still negative, position<" he explained before adding, "...right now, Democrats maintain a low single-digit lead on the generic congressional ballot. That's not much different than their 3-point win in the House popular vote in 2020."
According to the CNN analyst, Republican Party leaders should take a hard look at what happens in Virginia.
"If, on the other hand, McAuliffe is the victor, it will likely lead to plenty of discussion about whether it's good for Republicans to continue to have Trump this present on the political scene," he warned.
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