February 16, 2017 - Either Democrat Tops Republicans In Virginia Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; But Dems Are Locked In Dead Heat Primary Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
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In an early look at the 2017 Virginia governor's race, Democrats Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam top any of four possible Republican contenders, but find themselves locked in a dead heat primary race with 61 percent of Democratic voters undecided, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie leads the Republican primary pack with 24 percent, followed by Prince William County Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart with 7 percent, State Sen. Frank Wagner at 5 percent and businessman Denver Riggelman with 2 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. Most Republicans, 59 percent, are undecided.

In the Democratic primary, former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam are tied 19 - 19 percent, with 61 percent undecided.

General election matchups show either Democrat leading any Republican:
  • Perriello over Gillespie 43 - 36 percent;
  • Perriello tops Stewart 44 - 31 percent;
  • Perriello leads Riggelman 43 - 30 percent;
  • Perriello beats Wagner 43 - 32 percent;
  • Northam tops Gillespie 41 - 35 percent;
  • Northam leads Stewart 42 - 31 percent;
  • Northam tops Riggelman 42 - 31 percent;
  • Northam over Wagner 41 - 33 percent.
"Although none of the candidates - Democrat or Republican - is very well known to the Virginia electorate, the Old Dominion obviously has a blue tinge at this point," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "The fact that relatively unknown Democrats are scoring better than relatively unknown Republicans indicates that for now at least this Democratic brand is more attractive to Virginia voters."

"The most important numbers are 59 and 61, the percentages of Republican and Democratic voters who are undecided in their respective primaries," Brown added.

Virginia voters know little about this year's candidates for governor. The number of voters who don't know enough about the candidates to form an opinion of them ranges from 54 percent to 89 percent.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 13 percent of Virginia voters list the economy as the most important issue in how they will vote for governor this year. Another 12 percent cite education.

Gov. McAuliffe's Job Approval, Satisfaction

There is little gender gap as Old Dominion voters approve 51 - 34 percent of the job Gov. Terry McAuliffe is doing. Men approve 50 - 37 percent and women approve 52 - 32 percent. Approval is 82 - 6 percent among Democrats and 48 - 35 percent among independent voters. Republicans disapprove 69 - 17 percent.

White voters approve 46 - 41 percent and non-white voters approve 64 - 18 percent.

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

"The fact that two-thirds of Virginia voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the state probably helps the Democratic side in the governor's race. But that two-thirds satisfaction translates to only a 51 percent job approval for Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe - solid but not spectacular," Brown said.

From February 10 - 15, Quinnipiac University surveyed 989 Virginia voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The survey includes 419 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points, and 462 Democrats 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 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, Denver Riggleman, and Frank Wagner, for whom would you vote?
                     REPUBLICANS/REPUBLICAN LEANERS..............................
                            Wht    POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY               WHITE......
                            BrnAgn CONSERVATIVE  Mod/                 COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Evang  Very   Smwht  Lib    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Gillespie            24%    24%    29%    27%    18%    24%    24%    30%    22%
Stewart               7      6      9      5      7     10      4      9      6
Riggleman             2      -      1      -      4      4      -      1      2
Wagner                5      4      6      3      3      5      4      5      3
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      2      -      -      1      1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      3      1      5      2      2      4      1      3
DK/NA                59     61     52     59     66     54     63     54     62
 
 
2. (If Democrat or Democratic Leaner) If the Democratic primary for governor were being held today, and the candidates were Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam, for whom would you vote?
                     DEMOCRATS/DEMOCRATIC LEANERS..........
                            POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
                            LIBERAL.....  Mod/
                     Tot    Very   Smwht  Cons   Men    Wom
 
Perriello            19%    21%    19%    17%    22%    16%
Northam              19     25     21     15     19     19
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      2      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      2      2      2      1
DK/NA                61     53     57     66     56     64
 
 
3. 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              41%     2%    87%    29%    38%    44%    45%    25%
Gillespie            35     80      1     34     39     31     34     48
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      -      1      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      1      2      2      2      -      3
DK/NA                22     18     10     35     20     23     20     23
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Northam              49%    42%    40%    41%    31%    38%    35%    57%
Gillespie            24     36     40     38     46     38     42     18
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      1      -      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      -      3      2      1      2      2      3
DK/NA                23     22     17     19     21     22     22     21
 
 
4. 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              42%     3%    87%    30%    40%    44%    47%    24%
Stewart              31     75      1     26     34     28     30     45
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      -      1      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      1      2      2      2      1      3
DK/NA                24     19     10     42     23     25     22     27
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Northam              50%    43%    40%    41%    33%    38%    35%    59%
Stewart              19     32     36     35     42     34     38     15
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      1      -      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      5      -      4      1      2      3      2      3
DK/NA                25     25     20     23     23     25     24     22
 
 
5. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Ralph Northam the Democrat and Denver Riggleman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Northam              42%     3%    87%    28%    39%    44%    47%    23%
Riggleman            31     78      1     24     33     28     28     46
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      1      -      -      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      1      3      2      2      1      3
DK/NA                25     19     11     44     25     26     23     28
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Northam              47%    43%    41%    41%    31%    38%    35%    58%
Riggleman            23     31     34     34     41     35     38     14
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      1      1      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      -      4      1      2      2      2      3
DK/NA                27     25     21     24     26     25     25     24
 
 
6. 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              41%     3%    85%    28%    38%    44%    47%    22%
Wagner               33     79      2     29     36     30     31     49
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      -      1      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      1      2      2      1      1      2
DK/NA                24     18     11     40     24     24     22     27
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Northam              48%    42%    39%    39%    30%    38%    34%    58%
Wagner               22     35     37     36     44     36     40     16
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      1      -      1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      -      3      1      1      2      1      2
DK/NA                26     23     20     23     24     24     24     22
 
 
7. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Tom Perriello the Democrat and Ed Gillespie the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Perriello            43%     3%    89%    30%    38%    47%    45%    26%
Gillespie            36     82      1     34     41     32     36     51
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1      2      1      1      -      2
DK/NA                20     14      9     35     19     20     19     21
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Perriello            50%    42%    40%    45%    31%    40%    36%    61%
Gillespie            27     37     39     42     49     39     44     19
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      1      -      -      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      2      1      -      1      1      2
DK/NA                21     21     18     12     20     20     20     18
 
 
8. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Tom Perriello the Democrat and Corey Stewart the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Perriello            44%     4%    90%    33%    41%    47%    47%    29%
Stewart              31     79      -     26     35     28     31     45
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      -      1      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      1      2      2      2      1      2
DK/NA                22     16      9     38     21     23     22     23
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Perriello            53%    44%    42%    44%    35%    40%    38%    60%
Stewart              20     33     36     36     43     34     38     16
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      -      -      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      -      4      1      2      2      2      3
DK/NA                23     22     18     19     20     24     22     20
 
 
9. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Tom Perriello the Democrat and Denver Riggleman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Perriello            43%     4%    88%    32%    39%    47%    45%    28%
Riggleman            30     75      1     25     35     27     30     44
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      1      1      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      1      3      3      2      1      3
DK/NA                24     20     10     40     23     24     24     25
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Perriello            49%    43%    43%    43%    31%    41%    36%    59%
Riggleman            21     32     34     34     42     32     37     15
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      1      -      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      4      -      4      1      2      2      2      3
DK/NA                25     25     19     21     24     24     24     22
 
 
10. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Tom Perriello the Democrat and Frank Wagner the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Perriello            43%     3%    88%    32%    39%    46%    46%    27%
Wagner               32     80      1     26     36     29     31     46
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      1      2      2      2      1      3
DK/NA                23     16      9     39     23     23     22     24
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Perriello            52%    42%    42%    42%    32%    40%    37%    60%
Wagner               22     34     37     36     43     35     39     16
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      4      -      4      1      2      2      2      2
DK/NA                22     24     17     22     22     23     23     22
 
 
11. What is the most important issue to you in deciding how to vote for Governor this year?
                                   Tot
 
Economy Total                      13%
 Economy general                    9
 Unemployment/Jobs                  3
 Minimum wage too low               1
 
Education Total                    12%
 Education general                 10
 Funding education                  2
 
Political affiliation/philosophy    7%
 
Healthcare Total                    6%
 Healthcare/Costs/Ins/HMO's         4
 Medicaid/Costs/Abuse               1
 Medicare                           1
 
Immigration                         4%
Taxes general                       4%
 
Budget Total                        3%
 Budget general                     2
 Gov too big/Gov spending           1
 
Civil Rights and Human Rights       3%
Integrity/Morality/Character        3%
Women's issues                      3%
 
Abortion                            2%
Environment/Pollution               2%
Gun control                         2%
Security/Safety                     2%
Work against Trump                  2%
Working together                    2%
 
Election/Voting reform              1%
Governor/State leadership/Legisltr  1%
Mass/public transportation          1%
Social issues                       1%
Work with Trump                     1%
 
Other                              16%
DK/NA                               9%
 
 
12. 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%    34%    18%    19%    19%    25%    13%
Unfavorable           6     12      2      6      9      3      5      8
Hvn't hrd enough     74     82     64     76     71     76     69     78
REFUSED               1      2      -      -      1      1      1      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable            22%    19%    18%    23%    16%    21%    19%    22%
Unfavorable           6      6      4      9      9      5      7      5
Hvn't hrd enough     72     74     77     68     74     73     73     74
REFUSED               -      1      1      -      1      1      1      -
 
 
13. Is your opinion of Tom Perriello favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Favorable            23%     5%    39%    20%    20%    24%    24%    18%
Unfavorable          10     21      4      7     14      7     10     13
Hvn't hrd enough     66     70     56     71     64     68     66     67
REFUSED               1      3      -      1      2      1      1      2
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable            33%    19%    19%    26%    19%    23%    21%    27%
Unfavorable          14      5     11     12     15      8     12      7
Hvn't hrd enough     51     74     68     61     63     69     66     64
REFUSED               2      2      1      1      3      -      1      2
 
 
14. 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            24%    48%     6%    22%    29%    20%    26%    30%
Unfavorable          21      3     42     15     21     20     27     13
Hvn't hrd enough     54     47     50     63     48     59     46     55
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      2      1      2      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable            14%    24%    26%    34%    31%    25%    28%    15%
Unfavorable          23     18     22     22     20     20     20     23
Hvn't hrd enough     63     56     51     44     47     54     51     62
REFUSED               1      2      1      1      2      1      1      -
 
 
15. 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            11%    22%     3%    12%    14%     9%    10%    15%
Unfavorable          11      3     22      7     13     10     15      8
Hvn't hrd enough     76     72     75     81     71     80     74     75
REFUSED               1      2      -      -      2      1      1      2
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable             6%    14%    13%    13%    16%    10%    13%     9%
Unfavorable          10     11     12     12     11     12     11     10
Hvn't hrd enough     81     74     74     74     71     78     74     79
REFUSED               2      1      2      1      2      1      1      1
 
 
16. Is your opinion of Denver Riggleman favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Favorable             5%    10%     2%     3%     6%     4%     3%     5%
Unfavorable           5      2      9      4      6      5      7      4
Hvn't hrd enough     89     86     89     92     87     90     89     89
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             8%     4%     5%     3%     5%     3%     4%     7%
Unfavorable           8      5      6      5      5      6      6      5
Hvn't hrd enough     83     89     88     92     88     91     89     87
REFUSED               1      2      1      -      2      -      1      1
 
 
17. 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            10%    17%     4%    10%    10%    10%     7%    12%
Unfavorable           9      5     16      6     10      8      8      9
Hvn't hrd enough     80     76     80     84     78     81     84     77
REFUSED               1      2      -      -      2      1      1      2
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Favorable            10%     8%    12%    11%    10%     9%     9%    12%
Unfavorable          15      8      9      7      9      8      8     10
Hvn't hrd enough     74     83     77     81     79     82     81     78
REFUSED               1      1      1      2      2      1      2      -
 
 
23. 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              51%    17%    82%    48%    50%    52%    59%    33%
Disapprove           34     69      6     35     37     32     30     50
DK/NA                15     14     13     16     13     17     11     16
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Approve              55%    57%    48%    47%    43%    48%    46%    64%
Disapprove           22     28     41     44     43     38     41     18
DK/NA                24     15     11      9     13     13     13     17
 
 
24. 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              39%    49%    32%    36%    41%    38%    40%    39%
Disapprove           40     28     49     42     43     37     45     36
DK/NA                21     22     20     22     15     26     14     26
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Approve              48%    39%    38%    34%    43%    36%    39%    40%
Disapprove           33     43     43     39     41     41     41     38
DK/NA                19     17     18     27     16     23     20     22
 
 
28. 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       10%    12%    12%     6%    11%     9%    11%    10%
Smwht satisfied      57     49     65     55     56     58     61     52
Smwht dissatisfied   23     29     15     28     24     22     21     26
Very dissatisfied     9     10      7     11      8     10      6     11
DK/NA                 1      -      1      1      -      1      -      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....           Non-
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Wht
 
Very satisfied       13%     9%    11%     8%    12%     8%    10%    11%
Smwht satisfied      61     58     56     57     55     58     57     58
Smwht dissatisfied   16     23     24     23     26     23     24     21
Very dissatisfied    10     10      8     10      8     10      9      9
DK/NA                 -      -      1      2      -      1      1      1