CNN and MSNBC continued to sound the alarm Monday over a potential loss by Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Tuesday’s highly anticipated election and what it could mean for Democrats heading into the 2022 midterms.
Polls remain tight and within the margin of error as Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin appears poised to perform better than other recent Republicans in a state that’s been trending increasingly Democratic for more than a decade.
On CNN, senior political analyst Ron Brownstein argued that no matter which way the race went, it would send a message to Democrats that the night of the midterm elections would be difficult if Democrats couldn’t work together to help President Joe Biden improve his low approval rating.
“This is kind of, I think, a Ghost of Christmas Future moment for Democrats,” Brownstein told host John Berman during an appearance on “New Day.” “What happens in Virginia is not a guarantee of what will happen in the midterm, but it is, in all likelihood, a preview of what will happen if the political environment does not improve for Democrats.”
Brownstein added that, although midterm elections are historically tougher for the party holding the White House, they are even tougher when a president’s approval rating is “sagging.” A new NBC News poll shows Biden’s approval rating sitting at 42%, with a 54% disapproval rating.
“So I think what this says is that, win or lose … either way it sends the same message to Democrats, that out of self-interest they have to find a way to come together and help Biden rebuild his approval rating before next November, because if they don’t, it’s going to be a very tough night,” he said.
On MSNBC, national political correspondent Steve Kornacki outlined how Biden’s worsening approval rating was making the race harder for McAuliffe.
“For Democrats, what they’re in our new NBC poll here is exactly what they don’t want to be seeing on the eve of this big governor’s race in Virginia,” Kornacki said. He noted that, despite Virginia’s increasingly Democratic voting trends, the party that controls the White House has historically lost the Virginia gubernatorial race.
He added that the Democrats “historically swimming a bit against the tide” was being made tougher by Biden’s low approval rating, while also citing the NBC News poll showing a preference for Republicans to control the economy.
“There’s that modern history where the White House party struggles in Virginia elections. There’s Biden’s low approval rating heading into it … Biden carried Virginia by ten points last year, but right now the average of all the polls – very, very tight race, but in the average a narrow, narrow edge right now for Glenn Youngkin,” Kornacki said.
“Again, this is a very close election we’re looking at. But why is it so close in a state that Biden won by double digits? That poll gives you a good explanation why,” he added.