My analysis of the polls puts Younkin at slightly more than two percentage points in the lead.
Reflections on Early Voting
The Virginia Gubernatorial election depends on total turnout, and independents, not early turnout.
No, I don’t think this offers us very much information on the eventual outcome. More than anything, it probably just helps us interpret the results as it arrives on Election Night.
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) October 30, 2021
Extrapolating election outcomes from partial returns is a very hard problem, and becoming harder in many ways, and one that your average political reporter or cable news pundit has no training in. The Needle isn’t the only approach. But you need some rigor, not just to wing it.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 27, 2021
Extrapolating election outcomes from partial returns is a very hard problem, and becoming harder in many ways
Unlike Trump who told followers to vote on elections day (a mistake), Youngkin encouraged people to vote early.
Candidates should always seek early voting for their side. Those votes cannot be changed or taken away.
At the last minute, some people who waited might change their minds or not vote at all.
Here are all of the Virginia Polls.
I am a fan of weighting momentum and more recent polls over earlier polls.
Nate Silver posts polls by release date. The key date is the date the polls were conducted.
I favor the recent polls of shorter duration as opposed to polls over a long period time like the Oct 9-21 poll by Virginia Commonwealth.
Oct 29-31 Trafalgar: Youngkin +2 LV
Oct 27-31 Insider: Youngkin +2 LV
Oct 27-29 Echelon: Youngkin +3 LV
Oct 24-27 Fox News: Youngkin +8 LV, +1 RV
Oct 20-26 WaPo: McAuliffe +1 LV, +4 RV
Oct 21-24 Suffolk: Tie LV
The Fox News polls caused much discussion. +8 On Likely Voters vs. +1 Registered voters is such a huge discrepancy there may be a polling error or sampling outlier.
Mentally call the Fox outcome +2 or +2.5 for Youngkin if you like.
That makes the 4 most recent polls approximately +2 for Youngkin. If we do the same for WaPo, the prior two polls are +2 for McAuliffe and a tie.
There is a small but clear advantage to Youngkin in the most recent polls.
Moreover, momentum is also increasingly Youngkin’s way.
Nate Silver has Youngkin +1. To pick a specific number to one decimal place, I have Younkin +2.2 .
However, these numbers are all within margin of error. I will not be surprised by anything.
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