Democrats target black voters in tight VA gov race as Biden approval slips

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Democrats target black voters in tight VA gov race as Biden approval slips

Democrats in Virginia — a state President Biden won handily in 2020 — are scrambling to shore up support among black voters ahead of a tight race for governor as Biden’s job approval rating continues to tank among the group and overall U.S. population. 

Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is facing off against Republican Glenn Youngkin, who is leading in the race 61 percent to 55 percent, according to recent polling by Wason Center. 

A usually reliable voting group for Democrats, black voters’ approval rating of the party’s leader is steadily dropping, falling around 18 percentage points since July, according to recent polling by Pew Research Center. 

A Morning Consult poll conducted last month found that Biden’s net approval, percentage of those approving minus percentage of those disapproving, among Black voters has dropped 17 percentage points since mid-August. 

As of Sept. 20, Biden’s net approval sat at 47 percent among black voters, down from 59 percent on Sept. 8, the day before he announced labor-related vaccine mandates. 

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliff
Support of former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is quickly dropping.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

While the survey, conducted Sept. 18-20,  found 71 percent of black voters still approve of Biden’s overall job performance, the percent of voters who “strongly disapprove” is growing, increasing from 14 percent to 24 percent. 

The sinking numbers have Democrats concerned amid the highly contested gubernatorial race in Virginia. 

“Turnout is going to be very important,” pollster and Democratic strategist Brad Bannon told the Washington Examiner. 

Democrats are rushing to the Old Dominion State to show their support for McAuliffe ahead of the Nov. 2 race. 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin debates former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (not pictured) late last month.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin debates former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (not pictured) late last month.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

First Lady Jill Biden is set to travel to Henrico County on Friday, where around 64% of voters voted for her husband. 

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams is also set to stump for the former governor, leading a “souls to the polls” event in Norfolk on Sunday, where 64% of voters submitted their ballots for Biden. 

Some Democratic heads will be traveling to lesser Biden-popular areas with former President Barack Obama traveling to Richmond later this month, where 62% of the county voted for Trump. Richmond city however, still overwhelmingly supported Biden 83% to 15%. 

McAfullife, who has also been steadily losing support like Biden, has acknowledged the uphill battle he faces to be seated as governor again. 

President Joe Biden
Biden’s average approval rating has dropped over ten percentage points since he took office.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washing as you know,” He said during a private call with supporters last week, per the Examiner. “The president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we got to plow through.” 

The lack of support comes as voters express frustration over the president’s Build Back Better agenda, some of which want more action, while others are looking for more details on what is in it. According to Bannon, African American voters in particular are looking for more action from Congress on the plan. 

Since he took office, Biden’s average approval rating has dropped over ten percentage points, from 55 percent to 43 percent, according to averages calculated by RealClearPolitics.

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