NORFOLK, Va. - With just three weeks to go until Election Day in Virginia, polls show a tightening race.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Glenn Youngkin by four, according to a new poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.
In August, their poll had McAuliffe with a nine-point lead, so it has shrunk in the last few months.
The poll also found Youngkin gaining support from independent voters, gaining 11-percent more compared to August while McAuliffe lost support among some independents.
Political experts expect the race to be very closely watched for its implications on national elections in 2022 and beyond.
"I see that the Virginia gubernatorial race is becoming tighter and looks as if those individuals who are voting have chosen who they're going to vote for. There's a small group of voters still undecided and it looks like the candidates are actually going after those voters," said Dr. Eric Claville, the Director of the Center for African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University. "The key to the race, I believe, is to focus on getting your base out to the polls. It's all about turnout."
In the final weeks of the campaign, Younkin has attempted to make parental involvement in schools a key part of his campaign.
During the second and final debate, McAuliffe was asked about how he vetoed a bill when he was governor that would've let parents get certain books banned from school.
"I'm not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision," McAuliffe said. He added, "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."
Youngkin has seized on the issue and has been holding rallies called "Parents Matter."
"I'm going to stand for parents. Terry McAuliffe is standing with big government and I believe that parents have a fundamental role in their kids' education," said Youngkin.
News 3 asked McAuliffe what role parents should have in school curriculum. "Parents are very involved. We've got school boards. We've got the state board. We've got great curriculum here in Virginia," he responded.
As now the candidates make their final pushes to get voters on their side.
"I want to make sure that we have a low cost of living. I'm going to cut taxes. I want to make sure we have the best jobs, the best schools the safest communities," said Youngkin.
"I'll keep you safe. I'll build a great economy again. I'll build the best education system. I'll get you healthcare. I'll reduce prescription drug prices and get premiums down," said McAuliffe.
The deadline to register to vote for the 2021 election is Tuesday, October 12. You can do it a your local registrar's office in-person by 5 p.m. or on the Virginia Department of Elections website by 11:59 p.m.