Psaki downplays concerns that off-year elections are ‘bellwether’ amid close VA governor’s race

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki downplayed concerns that 2021’s off-year elections could signal trouble for President Biden and Democrats, arguing they are not a “bellwether” that can predict future elections.

“I think the president of course wants former Governor McAuliffe to be the future governor of Virginia. There is alignment in a lot of their agenda,” Psaki said during Thursday’s press briefing. “I will leave it to other outside analysis to convey that off-year elections are often not a bellwether.”

The press secretary made clear that the Biden administration supports former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, arguing that the former governor shares a similar vision to the president.

“We’re going to do everything we have to help former Governor McAuliffe and we believe in the agenda he’s representing,” Psaki said.

The comments come as McAuliffe is currently engaged in a tight race against Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin.

According to the latest Real Clear Politics polling average, McAuliffe leads Youngkin by 3.4 points, a tight race in a state Biden won by over 10 points during his 2020 campaign against former President Donald Trump.

Those numbers come as Democrats also fight to maintain their grip on control of Congress, with recent generic congressional ballot polling showing a tight race between Republicans and Democrats, despite the poll’s recent trend to favor Democrats.


Biden himself has seen his approval rating suffer in recent months, with the Real Clear Politics average showing 52% of voters disapprove of his performance compared to 44.1% who approve.

The numbers represent a steep decline for the president, who entered office with an almost 20-point advantage in approval rating and enjoyed a positive approval rating as recently as Aug. 21.