Can "Gun Ban" Biden Woo Virginia Voters To McAuliffe?

At this point, I’m pretty sure that Terry McAuliffe would prefer that Joe Biden not try to lend a helping hand in his bid to become Virginia’s next governor. The president’s approval rating in Virginia is under 50% and fading fast, and McAuliffe himself even acknowledged a few weeks ago that Biden is unpopular in the state. The New York Times had a big story today on the fact that while McAuliffe has constantly tried to insert Donald Trump into the campaign, he’s barely mentioned Joe Biden.

And yet, with a week to go before Election Day, Gun Ban Joe is hitting the campaign trail with McAuliffe in an attempt to help him flop over the finish line with a victory.

Biden will visit Virginia Highlands Park in Arlington, just a 15-minute drive from the White House, to campaign for McAuliffe on Tuesday. The president in July went to Northern Virginia to campaign for the former governor.

“The fact that Joe Biden is only willing to barely cross the Potomac and rally in blazing-blue Arlington tells you everything you need to know about how scared Democrats are about their base and also their toxicity with middle-of-the-road voters in the rest of the state,” said Brent Buchanan, a Republican pollster and CEO of the polling firm Cygnal.

On Monday, Cygnal released a poll showing the two candidates tied at 48.3 percent each. The same survey showed Biden’s unfavorable rating at 50 percent and his favorable rating at 48 percent. The findings appear to match other recent polls, including one from Monmouth University that found McAuliffe and Youngkin tied at 46 percent each. The same survey also showed Biden’s approval down to 43 percent and his disapproval rating up to 52 percent.

As we discuss on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, I doubt there are many northern Virginia Democrat who’ll be prodded to go vote by Biden’s joint appearance with McAuliffe. In fact, I’d say there’s a good chance that this appearance ends up doing more to motivate gun owners to vote against McAuliffe than in goosing turnout among Democrats and left-leaning independents in Arlington.

Both Biden and McAuliffe have embraced sweeping gun and magazine bans, though neither of them seem to want to talk much about their plans, at least publicly. But if McAuliffe is able to return to the governor’s mansion he occupied between 2013 and 2017 and Republicans can’t wrest control of the House of Delegates from Democrats, there’s no doubt in my mind that McAuliffe and his fellow anti-gun ideologues will ram through a ban on modern sporting rifles while they still have the chance. Democrats shied away from introducing a gun ban in the legislature this year, but it will be a top priority if they have the numbers once the elections are over.

Most Virginia gun owners are aware of the stakes of the election, I think, but Biden’s visit with McAuliffe should serve as a wake up call for those Second Amendment supporters still snoozing. I know McAuliffe is hoping that Sleepy Joe will get his own base energized for Election Day, but while he may bring out the party stalwarts to a campaign rally, Biden’s going to be much less effective at getting undecideds to cast a vote for the Democrat.

Nov 29, 2021 4:30 PM ET