The prognostications about the 2022 election have begun and rightly so, given the current collapse of the Biden administration. Historically, unpopular presidents lead to mid-term wipe-outs for their party, and Republicans appear to be in their best position since the conclusion of the 2020 election.
Ironically, a poll out of Virginia that doesn’t actually ask anything about the 2022 election may be the best barometer yet, though. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor has now taken the lead over Democrat Terry McAuliffe with likely voters. That election will happen this year and will represent a major marker in how public opinion is shifting in even blue states.
Another poll showing a close contest in the Virginia Governor’s race. A new University of Mary Washington survey shows Terry McAuliffe 43%, Glenn Youngkin 38% but among likely voters, it’s Youngkin 48%, McAuliffe 43%. @nbcwashington
— Julie Carey (@JulieCareyNBC) September 22, 2021
Joe Biden won Virginia 54-44% in 2020. It wasn’t close, and this race between Youngkin and McAuliffe shouldn’t be either. A month ago, the narrative was beginning to form that Youngkin was not only dead in the water, but that he’d be absolutely shellacked on election day. Now, he’s actually within striking distance to possibly pull the upset in a state that has become a blue bastion thanks to Northern Virginia’s heavy leftward transformation.
This is also not the first poll to show Youngkin doing better than expected. Another recent survey showed Youngkin now leading with independents, making turnout the key factor moving forward.
If Youngkin somehow pulls the upset, it would signal a coming red wave in 2022 that may make 2010 look tame. Taking back the House is already expected for the GOP, but they could end up netting 40+ seats and the Senate majority if they are operating in an environment that makes Youngkin governor of Virginia.
But even if Youngkin doesn’t win, Democrats are counting on McAuliffe to clean house in order to bolster the narrative that things aren’t so bad. If the Republican ends up losing by only 4-6 points, that result will crush Democrat hopes of rebounding and reasserting themselves going into 2022’s election season.
I’m a natural cynic so I hate getting ahead of myself, but I’d much rather be a Republican heading into 2022 right now than a Democrat. Further, you can expect things to worsen. What evidence is there that the Biden administration is going to stop imploding? As that happens, Democrat chances will sink further and further.
Regardless, the GOP could be celebrating a lot sooner than November of 2022 if Youngkin can pull this out in a couple of months. Not to mention, Virginians could really use the relief of having someone sane leading them.