The incontrovertible fact that Biden’s numbers are the place they’re should not be stunning. This 12-point turnaround mirrors what we’re seeing nationally. His web approval score (approve – disapprove) amongst voters is at about -5 factors, whereas he received nationally by 4.5 factors.
Additionally, this downward pattern is just like what we noticed in California. Yes, Gov. Gavin Newsom simply beat again a recall effort there. At the identical time, Biden’s web approval score within the exit ballot was +23 factors. This was down from a 29-point victory in 2020, and a +30 level web favorability score within the exit polls that 12 months.
Still, the Virginia check-in has added significance as a result of it has a reasonably good observe file of foretelling the nationwide atmosphere a 12 months later.
Look again on the exit polls within the final three governor’s races:
- In 2009, former President Barack Obama scored a -3 level web approval score. This got here after he received Virginia by 6 factors — a swing of 9 factors away from him. The following midterms, Democrats received crushed.
- In 2013, Obama had a -7 level web approval score after successful in Virginia by 4 factors the earlier 12 months. His social gathering went on to lose a variety of House seats and management of the Senate in 2014.
- In 2017, former President Donald Trump got here in with a really unhealthy -17 level web approval score. This was after he misplaced the state by 5 factors in 2016. His social gathering, like Obama’s in 2009, went on to lose the House within the subsequent midterm.
While the precise numbers differ from year-to-year, there’s a constant 10-point or so drop from the margin within the presidential race to the president’s web approval score every cycle. Right now, the pre-election exit polls are suggesting Biden will see a similar dropoff. That would imply that Democrats possible have a number of work to do forward of subsequent 12 months.
If Biden would not see a decline, it may very well be indicative that the nationwide atmosphere is not as unhealthy for Democrats as among the nationwide polling signifies.
I ought to be aware that simply because Biden’s reputation in Virginia might have declined from final 12 months it doesn’t imply that Democrats will not win in Virginia. The correlation between a president’s approval score and any particular person gubernatorial outcomes could be shaky.
In California, Newsom did beat again the recall by 24 factors. That was practically similar to Biden’s web approval score within the exit polls.
On the opposite hand, candidates do matter, and Virginia is one race. In 2013, McAuliffe received in opposition to an unpopular Republican (Ken Cuccinelli), at the same time as Obama was unpopular. It was Obama’s unpopularity that held by 2014, not Democratic candidates defying political gravity.
There have been a variety of blue state Republican governors who received simply in 2018, even because the Democrats romped in federal elections.
What we’ll see in 2022 is a number of elections and ones the place the correlation between a president’s approval score and the outcomes have been significantly larger the previous couple of cycles (i.e. House and Senate races).
This is the explanation why it in all probability would not matter very a lot who wins in Virginia for nationwide implications. What matters is how voters really feel about Biden. Right now, they don’t seem to be feeling too nice about him relative to 2020.
The excellent news for Democrats: If Biden’s rankings are unhealthy in Virginia subsequent month, Election Day 2022 is a 12 months away. They’ll must hope that the latest previous is just not a precedent, and Biden sees an upswing in his approval score over the following 12 months.