Virginia race for governor is a squeaker

November 5, 2017

The gubernatorial race in Virginia is narrowing to less than five points—and results are likely to rely on turnout this Tuesday. The head-to-head battle for office reflects the mood in the country, with Democrats supporting their own candidate; as are Republicans.

Heading into election day, Democrat Ralph Northam holds a tight three-point lead, 43% to 40%, over Republican Ed Gillespie, according to a New York Times Upshot/Siena College Research Institute poll of likely Virginia voters released on November 5.

By a small 43% to 34% margin, Virginians think the state is on the right track—a good sign for Democrats, since the current governor is one of their own,Terry McAuliffe.

While 39% of likely voters approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing, 51% disapprove, including a plurality of independent voters.

“This is a classic barn burner election that will have both candidates and campaigns working hard until the polls close Tuesday night,” said Siena College Poll Director Don Levy. “Northam and Gillespie are both strong with their bases: Gillespie has the support of 88% of Republicans while Northam is supported by 89% of Democrats. Independents are evenly divided, giving Gillespie an ever-so-slight one-point edge, 38% to 37%.

“There is a traditional gender gap, with Northam leading among women by 13 points and Gillespie leading with men by nine points. Gillespie leads with white voters 48% to37%, while Northam has a huge 79% percent lead with black voters,” Levy said.

“Gillespie has a small three-point edge with voters 65 and older. Northam has a similar narrow lead among voters 35 to 64 and has a very big lead with voters under 35.

“Turnout, turnout, turnout. Whichever campaign does a better job of mobilizing their voters and getting them to the polls on Tuesday is likely to be the campaign celebrating Tuesday night,” Levy said.

This New York Times Upshot/Siena College survey was conducted from October 29 through November 2, by telephone, among 985 likely Virginia voters.

Research contact: Don Levy at 518-783- 2901