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UVA Center for Politics Predicts Democratic Sweep - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Center for Politics Predicts Democratic Sweep on Election Day

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The campaigning clock is ticking. The polls will close in Virginia in 11 days, and Friday, one of the country's top political prognosticators says Virginia could be on the verge of a Democratic sweep.

University of Virginia political expert Larry Sabato and his team at the UVA Center for Politics say Terry McAuliffe will likely walk away with a win on November 5.

"He has a lead, and it's not going anywhere," said Geoff Skelley, political analyst at UVA's Center for Politics.

Ahead of Thursday's debate, the center changed its outlook on the race for governor from "leans democratic" to a "likely" McAuliffe victory. The decision, analysts say, was based on the Democrat's superior fundraising, endorsements from across the aisle, and his consistent lead in the polls.

"The polling averages have him up by about seven or eight points, and when you're up by that much, less than two weeks out from the election, I mean it's very hard to see a path to victory for Cuccinelli," said Skelley.

If McAuliffe wins, it would be the first time since the 1880s that an incumbent party hasn't won control of the governor's mansion for a second consecutive term.

"We think that there is a pretty decent chance of a Democratic sweep on election night," said Skelley.

A strong enough McAuliffe victory could - for the first time since 1989 - result in a Democratic sweep, winning the races for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

The center says Democrat Ralph Northam will beat Republican E.W. Jackson to become the state's next lieutenant governor.

The race for attorney general is still close. Republican Mark Obenshain has name recognition on his side - his father and sister have both held prominent roles in the state Republican Party, and no Democrat has won the attorney general post since 1989.

"But if McAuliffe wins, and he wins by a decent margin, I mean six, seven points, it may be very difficult for Obenshain to overcome that coattails effect," said Skelley.

With the clock winding down, both campaigns say they're focused on the next 11 days of campaigning - and not the words of pundits.

Both campaigns will bring in big-star power next week to help get out the vote. On Monday, Cuccinelli will campaign with GOP favorite, congressman Rand Paul. And starting on Sunday, McAuliffe will campaign across the state with his close friend, former President Bill Clinton. 

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