Why McAuliffe doesn’t mention Biden in Virginia governor’s race

Mr McAuliffe’s advisers note that his rivalry with Mr Youngkin tightened in late summer, just as Mr Biden’s approval rating began to drop, as the president’s pledge to A return to normal was faltering in the face of the Delta variant, chaos on the southern border and the tumultuous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

But they see signs of hope that Mr McAuliffe’s support remains above Mr Biden’s approval rating, which hovers between the low and mid-1940s – lower than anyone else’s. what a president Mr. Trump is at this early stage.

Falling approval ratings for Mr Biden among major Democratic constituencies, including young voters, Latinos and blacks, could hamper Mr McAuliffe’s participation efforts, complicating his path to victory in a race that could depend on which candidate best mobilizes his base.

Suburban swing voters overcame their initial excitement about replacing Mr. Trump, said Christine Matthews, a Republican pollster who hosted focus groups on the Virginia contest. While Mr. Biden’s victory initially inspired “tremendous relief,” she said: “Now there’s a realization like, Oh, yeah, Biden isn’t perfect, and things don’t. not much better. “

Neither Mr. McAuliffe nor Mr. Youngkin mentioned Mr. Biden in his ads, according to AdImpact, which tracks campaign ads, noting how little he motivates voters in either party – a change striking after many years in which the incumbent presidents have regularly played leading roles. in the announcements of candidates from both parties.

In the final weeks of the race, Mr McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018 but was barred from a second consecutive term by Virginia law, attempted to shed some light between his campaign and Mr. Biden’s administration. Although he never directly criticizes the president, McAuliffe has repeatedly underscored the political risk posed by congressional inaction on the president’s legislative agenda. In private conversations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House, Mr McAuliffe’s allies have said he has argued that the soured national environment is hurting his chances.

“We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington,” said McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee chairman, during a virtual call with supporters this month. “The president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we have to fend for ourselves.”


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