Virginia polls tightening. 25 days until Election Day.

Home stretch momentum shifting. Independents breaking to GOP.

Trying to make sense out of all the polls you are seeing on the Virginia gubernatorial race?

Start at the top. How’s Joe Biden doing? Hint: he’s never been that popular nationally except when the choice was Biden v Trump.

Terry McAuliffe said as much in this clip put out by the RNC:

Civiqs track:

It’s hard to look at the polls and see just one number like the Emerson poll showing McAuliffe with a super thin 49-48 lead over Youngkin.

Then another poll from Fox News showing a four point 48-44 lead for McAuliffe.

Today, Christopher Newport released a new poll in which McAuliffe also leads by four but that is down FIVE since their last poll.

The most interesting thing within the CNU poll, aside from the obvious five point swing to Youngkin, is that compared to CNU’s ideology polling in early March (but released in early May) Independents are swinging to the Republicans.

But will it be enough and will it be in time?

Early March poll respondent Self Identify:

Democrats - 29

Republicans - 27

Independents - 38

Early October Self Identify

Democrats - 34 (+5)

Republicans - 38 (+9)

Independents - 22 (-16)

CNU also has the GOP ahead on Very Enthusiastic voters by 6.

Look at this trend in CNU polling

Third Week in January Self ID:

Democrat 40 Republican 26 (+14 Dem)

Early February:

Democrat 49 Republican 37 (+12 Dem)

Early March

Democrat 29 Republican 27 (+2 Dem) DOWN TEN IN A MONTH?

Early October

Democrat 34 Republican 38 (GOP +4)

Things are tightening and in the direction of the Republicans. Clearly.

So we should just average polls? Yes and no. You could be averaging with bad data.

Here’s the average at 538:

Notice the consistency in the gap that Youngkin has to make up in these final 25 days. That’s pretty solid given the apparent movement to the GOP.

The key to understanding polls is to look at the methodology and 538 does a good job of taking that into consideration.

Polls are never wrong. The methodologies, however, can be very wrong which leads to inaccurate polling data which become THE POLLS ARE WRONG! social media postings.

I’m not trying to split hairs - polling is a science unto itself and pollsters are constantly trying to get it right. Finding people to answer them is getting harder and harder.

In presidential elections, that can be easier than this year’s gubernatorial cycle.

Imagine going from 75% turnout in 2020 to around 50% just a year later. That’s a drop off of close to 1.5 MILLION voters. Very different turnout models.

Who are THOSE 1.5 MM voters? That would be good to know, right?

Let’s look at the National Generic Ballot question. One poll has it +7 Democrats and another (Quinnipiac) has it +3 Republicans. That’s a big difference. CNU just posted it in Virginia at +4 Republicans.

IF IF IF Quinnipiac and CNU are right on Methodology and the GOP is up 3 to 4 over the Democrats, there is simply no way House Democrats retain their majority in Virginia.

From Real Clear Politics:

Something’s not right. Dems +7 and Republicans are +3 or +4?

Where are things? Tight and getting tighter. That’s all I can tell you at the moment with divulging internal polling intel.

Look, just follow the money. Go to VPAP and see where the money is going. That will tell you everything.

The next round of finance reports will line up with the polling. Plain and simple.

Campaigns that get funding are INSIDE the Margin of Error. Campaigns where the money dries up have been cut off.

It’s the coldest, sharpest, cleanest blade ever. But that can create REALLY bad reactions for campaigns - and possibly incumbents - who get that call.

It’s BRUTAL. But it’s honest.

Virginia polling and campaign chattering all point to a race that is inside the Margin of Error. CNU confirmed that with their publicly released poll. That means a TON more money is going to come pouring onto your screens.

Overall?

Glenn Youngkin is gaining momentum and with that comes a greater likelihood of the GOP picking up enough House seats that could win back the majority.

With less than four weeks to go, this is not where incumbents (perceived or real) want to be.

Terry McAuliffe’s viral debate gaffe about parents being involved in their children’s education has been turned into an effective ad that you will be seeing plenty of over the next month.

Before the ad was even up and running, the raw video clip had been viewed 1.7 MM times on Twitter alone.

Granted not all of those views were in Virginia, but that thing was white hot. To NOT use that as a campaign ad would have been political malpractice. The Youngkin team is clearly going for the jugular with this ad and it might be enough to push them and House Republicans over the top.

Issues like the grocery tax cut helped cut the lead. The Parents Matter ad might seal the deal and with it the fate of the federal spending legislation.

So, yeah - Emerson has is at 49-48. CNU is +4 and Fox is also +4 for Dems.

Both teams know that while a poll might be 49-48 and another 48-44 - the key is getting those voters to actually show up and vote.

That enthusiasm has also tightened, but is also leaning towards better outcomes for Republicans.