In the first poll published since Saturday’s Virginia Gubernatorial Debate, Monmouth University Poll has a tied race between Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam. The telephone poll was conducted from July 20-23, 2017, with Virginia voters most likely to participate in the next election.
- Ed Gillespie (R) 44%
- Ralph Northam (D) 44 %
- Cliff Hydra (L) 3%
- Undecided 8%
Currently Gillespie has 91 percent Republican support while Northam has 88 percent Democratic support. Among Independents, Gillespie has 42 percent support to 38 percent for Northam.
Other takes from the poll:
- Health care is the top issue for Virginia voters.
- Donald Trump is impacting the Virginia governor race.
- Northam has a 13-point lead over Gillespie in Northern Virginia (50% to 37%) and a 9 point lead in the eastern part of the commonwealth (50%-41%).
- Gillespie leads in the central region, 43 percent to 41 percent for Northam.
- Gillespie has an 18-point advantage in the western half of Virginia, 52 percent to 34 percent for Northam.
Findings among demographics:
- Women: 50 percent Northam, 37 percent Gillespie
- Men: 51 percent Gillespie, 37 percent Northam
- White non-Hispanic voters: 52 percent Gillespie, 36 percent Northam
- Other race/Hispanic: 69 percent Northam, 18 percent Gillespie
- Age 18-49: 50 percent Northam, 39 percent Gillespie
- Age 50-64: 46 percent Gillespie, 38 percent Northam
- Age 65+: 47 percent Gillespie, 43 percent Northam.
- College graduate: 47 percent Northam, 42 percent Gillespie
- No degree: 47 percent Gillespie, 38 percent Northam
The issue of Donald Trump was front and center at Saturday’s debate and Monmouth’s poll indicates he is having an impact on the Virginia race. They noted:
- 4-in-10 voters say Trump is either a major factor (26 percent) or a minor factor (14 percent) in their decision to vote for governor including 52 percent of Northam supporters, 32 percent of Gillespie supporters, and 32 percent of those undecided or for the Libertarian candidate.
- While Trump is a presence in this election, few voters would actually alter their intention at this point if he wasn’t a consideration. Nearly all Gillespie voters (99%) would stick with their choice if Trump was not a factor in their vote. Somewhat fewer Northam voters (88%) say they would stay with the Democrat, with many of the potential defectors (7%) moving into the undecided column. Taken together, these results suggest that Gillespie could actually have a lead of 45% to 40% over Northam – with 12% being undecided – if Trump did not currently figure into the equation.
“A small but crucial portion of Northam’s support is coming from voters who are primarily anti-Trump. Unless one of the candidates breaks out with a clear advantage on Virginia-centric issues, the president could wind up as a decisive factor in the outcome,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Murray added, “National pundits like to paint Virginia gubernatorial races as referenda on whichever president was just elected and they are almost always wrong. 2017 may turn out to be the first time you can credibly draw a direct link between the Oval Office and the race for governor.”
Read more poll results here.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from July 20 to 23, 2017 with 502 Virginia residents likely to vote in the 2017 gubernatorial election. The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
Photo by Matt Colt Hall