Just 82,000 Virginians cast ballots during the first week of early voting, according to the state’s Department of Elections. That figure marks a sharp decline from the 270,000 voters who flocked to the polls during the first week of early voting in 2020. Of the 51,000 early votes cast in person, Republicans hold a 127-vote advantage, a data model provided by the Virginia GOP shows. While the state does not register voters by party affiliation, the model uses factors like primary voting history to extrapolate the voters’ partisan preference. Democrats have historically dominated early voting—President Joe Biden won Virginia’s early vote by more than 30 points against former president Donald Trump.
Those numbers will likely alarm supporters of former governor Terry McAuliffe (D.), who face an enthusiasm gap in their bid to defeat Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin. An August Monmouth poll found that Youngkin enjoys a 19-point lead with voters who describe themselves as being “more enthusiastic.”
The early voting numbers also come as Biden’s standing in the state slips significantly. According to a September poll conducted by Democratic consulting firm Global Strategy Group, 49 percent of Virginia voters hold a favorable opinion of Biden, while 50 percent of voters view him unfavorably. Biden won the state by double digits in November.
Republicans’ apparent lead among in-person early voters “clearly is concerning for Democrats, who traditionally have been the advocates of early voting and have turned out more than Republicans,” according to Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.
Well, don’t get cocky.