Joe Biden

Key Factor in McAuliffe's Loss Was President Biden's Low Ratings, Says Larry Sabato

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images; Win McNamee | Getty Images
  • Glenn Youngkin won Virginia’s hotly contested gubernatorial election, defeating Democratic power player and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
  • “My take is that the key factor was, in fact, President Biden's low ratings,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
  • When asked about Democrats' upset in the commonwealth, Biden said the defeat showed that his party needs to pass some of his agenda before midterms.  

Political expert Larry Sabato pointed to President Joe Biden's low ratings as the primary reason that Glenn Youngkin flipped the Virginia governorship to Republican control.

"My take is that the key factor was, in fact, President Biden's low ratings," said Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "You can't avoid it. I can't see how anyone can deny that...That's what it's about, it's not just about his agenda."

Biden won Virginia by ten points, and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe held a steady lead in the polls, but it disappeared as election day approached. 

When asked about Democrats' upset in the commonwealth, Biden said the defeat showed that his party needs to pass some of his agenda before midterms.  

"People want us to get things done," Biden said. "They want us to get things done. And that's why I'm continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along and pass my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better bill."

Sabato told CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith," that fighting within the Democratic Party also contributed to McAuliffe's loss. 

"The Democrats would have been better off had they, in August or September, gotten together to make a compromise, but the fact that they can't and they're still fighting, still fighting, tells you all you need to know," said Sabato. 

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

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