Democrat Ralph Northam rode to victory over Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia race for governor thanks to strong support from women, blacks, college graduates, and moderates. Northam succeeds fellow Democrat Terry McAuliffe, as Republicans have not won a statewide election in Virginia since 2009.

Women backed Northam by 19 percentage points, while men backed Gillespie by just 2 points. That gender gap of 21 points is wider than both the 2013 (12 points) and 2009 (13 points) gubernatorial elections.


Fox News Voter Analysis     Governor

Northam Strengths

Women                        +19 Pts.

Blacks                         +85 Pts.

College Degree           +19 Pts.

Moderates                   +26 Pts.

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

Gillespie racked up an 11-point margin among white voters (55 to 44 percent). Still, that’s a narrower margin than 2013 (when white voters favored the Republican by 20 points) and 2009 (35 points).

Democrats continue to win large margins of black voters in Virginia. Northam won 92 percent, similar to Democrats’ totals in the past two elections.


Voters with a college degree favored Northam, 59 to 40 percent. That represents a shift from 2013, when McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli split college-educated voters 46-46 percent.

College-educated whites went for Northam by 7 points, while whites without a college degree, a major source of support for President Trump in 2016, went for Gillespie by nearly two-to-one.


Fox News Voter Analysis     Governor

Whites No Degree

Northam                      36%

Gillespie                      63%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

Predictably, liberals went for Northam (by 83 points) and conservatives preferred Gillespie (by 67 points). But it was the large block of moderates who proved decisive, voting for Northam by a 26-point margin.

The race got ugly down the stretch, with hard-hitting attack ads from both sides – and more voters blamed Gillespie than Northam. Six-in-ten said Gillespie attacked Northam unfairly, while just less than half felt the reverse.

Fox News Voter Analysis     Virginia

Gillespie Attack Northam Unfairly?

Yes      60%

No       33%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

Fox News Voter Analysis     Virginia

Northam Attack Gillespie Unfairly?

Yes      48%

No       45%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

Despite the attack ads, roughly half of voters had positive views of both Northam (52 percent) and Gillespie (46 percent). Virginians felt more positively about former President Barack Obama (58 percent favorable), while 45 percent held a favorable view of Governor McAuliffe.

Trump’s favorability in Virginia is underwater: 42 percent favorable to 56 percent unfavorable. Just over one-third of voters said they were excited or optimistic about the way the Trump administration is working.

Fox News Voter Analysis     Virginia

Feelings About How Trump

Administration Is Working

Excited            9%

Optimistic       27%

Concerned       28%

Scared             34%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

Trump was an important factor for more than one third (38 percent) of voters, and those folks broke for Northam by a sizable 39-point margin.


Fox News Voter Analysis     Governor

Donald Trump Important To Vote

Northam          69%

Gillespie          30%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

On Monday, Trump tweeted the Virginia economy has been “terrible” with Democrats holding the governor’s mansion. Virginians disagreed: 64 percent rated the economy as either excellent or good. Just 5 percent said the economy is in poor shape.

As a result, health care (28 percent) – rather than the economy (26 percent) – narrowly topped voters’ list of the top issues facing the state.

Fox News Voter Analysis     Virginia

Most Important Issue Facing The State

Health Care                             28%

Economy                                  26%

Education                                14%

Taxes                                       9%

Gun Policy                              8%

Immigration                            7%

Confederate Monuments        4%

Energy Policy                          3%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

Northam, a pediatric neurologist, won health care voters by a wide 45-point margin, and held a smaller edge among education voters (+32 points). Gillespie won those most concerned about taxes (+29 points) and the economy (+15 points).

When it comes to health care, 40 percent of Virginian voters think the Affordable Care Act went too far – and Gillespie won these voters by 75 points. However, a majority either believes Obamacare was about right (27 percent) or didn’t go far enough (31 percent), and Northam racked up wide margins among both groups (+73 and +64 points, respectively).

Fox News Voter Analysis     Virginia

Feelings About Health Care Law

Didn’t Go Far Enough            31%

About Right                            27%

Went Too Far                          40%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

Gillespie made sanctuary cities a focal point of his advertising, and he won among the 7 percent of voters who named immigration as the top issue facing the state by 63 points. However, Gillespie’s anti-immigration stance put him at odds with the 58 percent of Virginians who believe immigrants to the U.S. do more to help the country than hurt it.


Fox News Voter Analysis     Governor

Immigrants To The U.S.

Help The Country

Northam          77%

Gillespie          22%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

Gillespie was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, and he garnered a 21-point margin among gun-owner households (60-39 percent). But after recent mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas, a majority of voters said it was more important to protect citizens from gun violence (57 percent) than protect the right to own guns (40 percent).

Fox News Voter Analysis     Virginia

Which Is More Important To Protect?

Right To Own Guns               40%

Citizens From Gun Violence  57%

As of 11:30PM 11/07/17

By nearly two-to-one, voters agreed with Gillespie’s position that Confederate monuments should stay up rather than be taken down (62 to 33 percent). However, it wasn’t a key issue for voters - only 4 percent rated the monuments issue as a top one facing the state.

In total, around 2.6 million Virginians turned out to vote, despite rain throughout the state. How about those who didn’t vote? Non-voters were more likely to be non-white (53 percent), under age 30 (48 percent), and without a college degree (76 percent).

If they had pulled the lever, these non-voters said they would have opted for Northam by a 62-33 margin.

As for why they didn’t vote, the top reasons were not knowing enough about the candidates (25 percent), not having the time (21 percent), and not liking the candidates (12 percent).

Fox News Voter Analysis     Virginia

Biggest Reason Preventing Vote

Don’t Know About Candidates         25%

Don’t Have The Time                         21%

Don’t Like Candidates                       12%

Don’t Like Politics                              9%

Not Interested                                     7%

Non-voters who don’t like politics generally preferred Gillespie by a 16-point margin, and those who aren’t interested in politics preferred him by 12 points.

Non-voters who don’t know enough about the candidates, don’t have the time, and don’t like either candidate preferred the Democrat by wide margins.

The Fox News Voter Analysis is based on a survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago with 6,154 Virginia registered voters.  The poll featured 1,130 interviews from a probability sample drawn from a registered voter list and 5,024 interviews from a non-probability sample, and includes both voters and non-voters for enhanced analytical purposes.  The data collection was multi-mode (landline, cellphone, and online) and the full sample was calibrated to be representative of the population of registered voters as well as to be consistent with the actual election results.  Results among all those interviewed in the probability sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points including the design effect.