December 14, 2016 - Gillespie Leads GOP Pack In Virginia Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Democrat Northam Has Early Lead In General Election Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
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Former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie has an early lead in a field of largely unknown Republican contenders in the 2017 Virginia governor's race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Virginia Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam edges Gillespie in a general election matchup and has wider leads over other Republicans, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University Poll finds.

Gillespie gets 24 percent of Republican votes in a hypothetical GOP primary for governor, followed by U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman with 10 percent, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart with 4 percent and State Sen. Frank Wagner with 4 percent.

Most Republican voters, 57 percent, are undecided.

In general election matchups, Northam edges Gillespie 38 - 34 percent. The Democrat leads other Republicans:
  • 38 - 29 percent over Stewart;
  • 39 - 30 percent over Wittman;
  • 39 - 30 percent over Wagner.
None of the contenders is well known at this early date, as the percentage of voters who don't know enough about the contenders to form an opinion ranges from 66 percent to 86 percent.

"Ever since Ed Gillespie came oh-so-close to upsetting U.S. Sen. Mark Warner two years ago, he has had his eye on the governor's mansion. He enters this campaign with a solid, but by no means overwhelming, lead for the Republican nomination. If there are four candidates for the Republican gubernatorial nomination come the June primary, that will work to Gillespie's advantage since that would prevent development of a stop-Gillespie coalition," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"In the general election match-up against Lt. Gov. Northam, the presumed Democratic nominee, Gillespie does the best of the GOP contenders," Brown added. "But at least part of Northam's general election lead and Gillespie's lead among Republicans is due to their better name recognition. This race for governor is just beginning and none of the candidates, including Northam and Gillespie, in either party has anything approaching widespread name recognition. The candidates who reach that level will become the early leaders."

Virginia voters approve 52 - 30 percent of the job Gov. Terry McAuliffe is doing. Approval is 75 - 8 percent among Democrats and 52 - 32 percent among independent voters. Republicans disapprove 57 - 27 percent.

The State Legislature gets a 47 - 31 percent approval, with similar scores among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.

Old Dominion voters support 48 - 38 percent legislation that would require 75 percent of state universities' undergraduate enrollment be made up of students from Virginia.

There is a wide age gap as voters 18 to 34 years old oppose the bill 55 - 36 percent, while older voters support the measure. Support is 55 - 34 percent among Republicans and 49 - 41 percent among independent voters. Democrats are divided, with 44 percent supporting the measure and 40 percent opposed.

"Virginians have long taken pride in their higher education system. Now they want it for themselves," Brown said.

A total of 67 percent of voters are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the way things are going in Virginia today, while 32 percent are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied."

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 23 percent of Virginia voters say the economy is the most important problem facing the state today, followed by 12 percent who list education, 8 percent who cite mass transit and 6 percent who say "politicians" or political leadership.

From December 6 - 11, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,098 Virginia voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. The survey includes 451 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia and the nation as a public service and for research.

Visit poll.qu.edu or www.facebook.com/quinnipiacpoll

Call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter @QuinnipiacPoll.

1. (If Republican or Republican Leaner) If the Republican primary for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart, Rob Wittman, and Frank Wagner, for whom would you vote?
                     REPUBLICANS/REPUBLICAN LEANERS.....................................
                                   Wht    POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY               WHITE......
                            Tea    BrnAgn CONSERVATIVE  Mod/                 COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Party  Evang  Very   Smwht  Lib    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Gillespie            24%    22%    24%    30%    22%    19%    31%    16%    26%    21%
Stewart               4      8      4      4      5      2      2      6      4      4
Wittman              10      6     12     10     10      9     11      9      9     13
Wagner                4      1      2      4      3      4      3      4      2      3
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      -      -      1      -      -      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      1      2      2      1      2      1      1      1
DK/NA                57     59     57     51     58     64     50     64     56     58
 
 
2. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Ralph Northam the Democrat and Ed Gillespie the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Northam              38%     1%    79%    24%    31%    43%    38%    25%
Gillespie            34     83      3     26     37     31     36     49
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      1      1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      1      3      2      2      2      1
DK/NA                26     14     16     45     29     23     23     24
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Northam              32%    41%    38%    38%    27%    36%    32%    51%
Gillespie            37     32     33     36     47     38     42     16
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      2      1      1      1      1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      2      2      2      1      2      2
DK/NA                28     24     26     23     23     24     24     29
 
 
3. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Ralph Northam the Democrat and Corey Stewart the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Northam              38%     1%    80%    25%    32%    43%    39%    26%
Stewart              29     79      1     19     31     28     31     44
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      1      1      -      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      1      3      2      1      2      1
DK/NA                30     19     18     52     34     27     28     28
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Northam              37%    38%    40%    39%    28%    36%    33%    51%
Stewart              29     29     28     34     40     35     37     12
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      -      1      -      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      1      1      2      2      1      2      3
DK/NA                31     31     30     24     29     27     28     33
 
 
4. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Ralph Northam the Democrat and Rob Wittman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Northam              39%     2%    80%    24%    32%    44%    38%    25%
Wittman              30     79      1     22     33     28     32     47
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      1      1      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      1      3      2      2      2      1
DK/NA                29     19     18     50     32     26     27     27
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Northam              35%    42%    38%    39%    27%    35%    32%    54%
Wittman              32     31     29     34     43     37     40     11
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      1      -      1      -      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      2      1      2      1      1      2
DK/NA                31     26     31     25     27     27     27     32
 
 
5. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Ralph Northam the Democrat and Frank Wagner the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Northam              39%     4%    81%    24%    33%    45%    38%    27%
Wagner               30     75      2     22     33     27     31     42
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      1      1      -      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      2      3      3      2      2      2
DK/NA                28     20     14     49     31     26     28     28
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Northam              38%    43%    37%    40%    29%    36%    33%    54%
Wagner               31     27     29     34     41     33     37     15
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      -      1      -      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      5      1      2      2      3      1      2      3
DK/NA                26     27     32     23     27     30     28     26
 
 
6. Is your opinion of Ralph Northam favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Favorable            19%     4%    35%    14%    18%    19%    19%    10%
Unfavorable           5     10      1      5      7      4      5      7
Hvn't hrd enough     76     85     64     80     74     77     75     81
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      -      2
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable            16%    15%    21%    23%    15%    14%    15%    27%
Unfavorable           4      4      7      4      9      4      6      3
Hvn't hrd enough     78     80     71     71     75     81     78     69
REFUSED               1      1      -      1      1      1      1      1
 
 
7. Is your opinion of Ed Gillespie favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Favorable            19%    38%     5%    19%    27%    13%    22%    26%
Unfavorable          14      3     22     13     14     14     17      9
Hvn't hrd enough     66     58     71     67     59     72     59     64
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable            18%    18%    21%    20%    35%    15%    24%     9%
Unfavorable           8     18     16     15     15     12     13     15
Hvn't hrd enough     73     64     62     64     49     72     62     75
REFUSED               2      -      2      1      1      1      1      1
 
 
8. Is your opinion of Corey Stewart favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Favorable             8%    14%     4%     6%     9%     7%     6%    10%
Unfavorable           6      3      8      5      6      5      9      5
Hvn't hrd enough     86     83     86     89     84     88     85     84
REFUSED               1      -      1      -      1      -      -      2
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable             8%     7%     6%     9%     9%     6%     8%     7%
Unfavorable           2      5      7      8      8      5      7      4
Hvn't hrd enough     89     88     86     82     81     88     85     89
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      2      -      1      -
 
 
9. Is your opinion of Rob Wittman favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Favorable            12%    24%     4%     9%    14%    10%    11%    15%
Unfavorable           7      2     11     10      7      8      6      5
Hvn't hrd enough     80     74     83     80     78     81     82     78
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable            10%    11%    12%    14%    16%    11%    13%     8%
Unfavorable           9      7      8      5      5      6      6     12
Hvn't hrd enough     80     82     79     79     78     82     80     79
REFUSED               1      -      1      2      1      1      1      1
 
 
10. Is your opinion of Frank Wagner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Favorable             9%    14%     5%     7%    10%     8%     6%    11%
Unfavorable           6      3      8      7      6      6      6      4
Hvn't hrd enough     84     82     86     85     82     86     87     83
REFUSED               1      1      1      -      2      1      1      2
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable            13%     6%     8%     8%    10%     7%     8%    10%
Unfavorable           5      7      7      7      6      5      5      8
Hvn't hrd enough     82     86     84     84     83     87     85     81
REFUSED               1      -      2      2      1      1      1      1
 
 
12. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Terry McAuliffe is handling his job as Governor?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Approve              52%    27%    75%    52%    49%    53%    55%    39%
Disapprove           30     57      8     32     38     24     33     40
DK/NA                18     16     18     16     13     22     13     21
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Approve              55%    49%    55%    51%    43%    50%    47%    62%
Disapprove           23     31     32     34     44     30     36     17
DK/NA                23     20     12     15     13     20     17     21
 
 
13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Approve              47%    48%    47%    46%    49%    45%    49%    45%
Disapprove           31     28     31     36     35     28     31     34
DK/NA                22     24     22     18     16     27     20     21
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Approve              54%    48%    48%    38%    48%    46%    47%    47%
Disapprove           27     33     31     36     36     29     33     29
DK/NA                19     20     21     27     16     24     20     24
 
 
18. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Virginia today; are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Very satisfied        8%     4%    14%     7%     8%     9%    10%     5%
Smwht satisfied      59     49     65     62     58     60     63     56
Smwht dissatisfied   25     38     15     24     24     25     20     33
Very dissatisfied     7      8      5      7      9      5      7      6
DK/NA                 1      -      1      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Very satisfied        9%     7%     8%    12%     7%     7%     7%    11%
Smwht satisfied      61     61     61     53     57     62     59     58
Smwht dissatisfied   24     25     24     24     26     26     26     22
Very dissatisfied     7      7      7      9      9      5      7      8
DK/NA                 -      -      1      2      1      1      1      1
 
 
19. What do you think is the most important problem facing Virginia today?
                                   Tot
 
Economy Total                      23%
 Economy general                    8
 Unemployment/Jobs                 13
 Economy other                      2
 
Education Total                    12%
 Education general                  8
 Funding education                  2
 Education other                    2
 
Mass Transit Total                  8%
 Mass/public trans                  4
 Traffic/Congestion                 2
 Poor conditions roads/highways     1
 Tolls                              1
 Transportation other               1
 
Politicians Total                   6%
 Governor/State Ldrshp/Legislature  1
 Donald Trump                       1
 Election/Voting reform             1
 Politicians other                  3
 
Healthcare Total                    5%
 Healthcare/Costs/Ins/HMO's         4
 Medicaid/Costs/Abuse               1
 
Taxes Total                         5%
 Taxes general                      4
 Taxes other                        1
 
Budget Total                        3%
 Budget general                     1
 Budget other                       2
 
Infrastructure                      3%
Immigration                         3%
Environment/Pollution               3%
 
Crime Total                         2%
 Crime/Violence general             1
 Drugs                              1
 
Gun control                         2%
 
Racism/Race relations               1%
Women's issues                      1%
Security/Safety                     1%
Class inequality                    1%
Marijuana                           1%
Children's issues                   1%
Police Total                        1%
 
Other                               9%
 
DK/NA                               9%
 
 
20. Would you describe the state of Virginia's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Excellent             4%     5%     4%     5%     5%     4%     6%     2%
Good                 63     55     71     65     68     58     68     53
Not so good          26     36     16     25     20     31     23     35
Poor                  4      4      4      3      5      4      2      6
DK/NA                 3      -      5      2      2      3      1      4
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Excellent             4%     4%     5%     6%     5%     4%     4%     5%
Good                 70     62     61     57     65     57     61     68
Not so good          21     27     27     29     24     33     29     19
Poor                  2      4      5      5      4      4      4      5
DK/NA                 2      3      2      4      2      2      2      3
 
 
21. Do you think Virginia's economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Better               22%    17%    31%    19%    25%    20%    26%    17%
Worse                11     13      6     12     11     11     10     14
The same             64     69     58     67     63     65     62     66
DK/NA                 3      2      5      2      2      4      3      3
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Better               23%    27%    20%    21%    23%    19%    21%    25%
Worse                 8     11     14      7     11     12     12      8
The same             65     59     64     68     63     64     64     63
DK/NA                 4      2      3      5      2      4      3      3
 
 
22. Would you say that you are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Better off           47%    39%    56%    47%    53%    42%    47%    38%
Worse off            25     32     17     24     21     28     22     36
SAME(VOL)            26     27     25     28     24     29     31     24
DK/NA                 2      2      1      1      2      1      -      2
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Better off           68%    54%    40%    27%    49%    37%    42%    58%
Worse off            18     17     32     35     25     31     29     16
SAME(VOL)            12     28     28     35     24     31     28     24
DK/NA                 2      1      -      3      1      1      1      2
 
 
23. There's a proposed bill in the Virginia state legislature that would require 75 percent of state universities' undergraduate student bodies to be made up of students from Virginia. Do you support or oppose this bill?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Support              48%    55%    44%    49%    46%    50%    43%    57%
Oppose               38     34     40     41     42     34     45     27
DK/NA                14     10     16     10     13     15     12     16
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Support              36%    48%    55%    53%    44%    55%    50%    44%
Oppose               55     39     31     27     43     31     36     41
DK/NA                 8     13     14     20     13     14     14    14