McAuliffe led Youngkin by three percentage points in the previous Washington Post-Schar School poll conducted mid-September.
Friday’s survey is the latest polling to indicate an extremely competitive contest between the two candidates in Virginia’s closely watched off-year election.
McAuliffe held a polling advantage over his GOP competitor throughout much of the campaign, though the gap has narrowed as Youngkin has capitalized on hot button issues including education that has energized the Republican base and swing voters.
Youngkin holds an 18-point advantage over McAuliffe among self-identified independents in the likely voter model, up from eight in the September poll. That coincides with an uptick in the portion of respondents who said that education is their top item in making their pick for governor
Other polling has even pointed to Youngkin overtaking the former governor ahead of next week’s election. A poll released Thursday by Fox News showed Youngkin leading by eight percentage points, 53 percent to McAuliffe’s 45 percent, among likely voters in Vriginia. Youngkin also led McAuliffe by one point among registered voters, according to the same poll.
President Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 percentage points over Donald Trump in last year’s general election. But the president’s approval rating is now below 50 percent in the commonwealth, an apparent headwind for McAuliffe’s comeback effort. Though Virginia has long been viewed as a purple state, Democrats have had a strong run in recent years, and Republicans have not won statewide since 2009.