Home 2017 Races Q-Poll Has Ralph Northam Up 10 Points, 51%-41% Over Ed Gillespie

Q-Poll Has Ralph Northam Up 10 Points, 51%-41% Over Ed Gillespie


After weeks of no polls at all, it looks like everyone and their uncle decided to poll Virginia this week. This is the fourth poll, by my count, in the last day or so. And it’s a good one from a Democratic perspective. here are highlights from Quinnipiac University’s new poll:

“In the Virginia governor’s race, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam tops the magic 50 percent mark among likely voters, leading Republican Ed Gillespie 51 – 41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Libertarian Party candidate Cliff Hyra gets 3 percent.”  That’s great news if true; would mean major pickups for Democrats in the House of Delegates, in addition to a statewide sweep. 

“There are wide gender and racial gaps as men back the Republican 49 – 39 percent while women back the Democrat 61 – 34 percent. White voters back Gillespie 49 – 44 percent while non-white voters back Northam 74 – 16 percent.” Wow, huge “gender gap” there. Also, sadly, a huge racial gap, even as Republican policies seriously hurt people of ALL races.

“Northam gets a 47 – 31 percent favorability rating among Virginia likely voters. Gillespie gets 40 percent favorable and 39 percent unfavorable.” That’s also a very encouraging finding. Of course, “Enron Ed” comes across as likable, but bottom line is he’s a “K Street” corporate lobbyist, the epitome of the “swamp,” a guy who’s spent his life serving himself (while Ralph Northam has served OTHERS), whose policies would be disastrous for Virginia.

“For 27 percent of Virginia likely voters, the economy is the most important issue in deciding how they will vote for governor. Another 21 percent cite health care, as 12 percent list education, 11 percent say taxes and 10 percent say immigration.” No real surprises there; pretty standard.

“Virginia likely voters disapprove 58 – 39 percent of the job President Donald Trump is doing. Democrats disapprove 97 – 3 percent and independent voters disapprove 64 – 32 percent, as Republicans approve 88 – 8 percent.” No surprises there either; amazing that Trump’s even at 39%, really.

“Voters approve 56 – 37 percent of the job Gov. Terry McAuliffe is doing, including 91 – 3 percent among Democrats and 60 – 32 percent among independent voters. Republicans disapprove 82 – 10 percent...U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine gets a 55 – 40 percent approval rating among likely voters, with a 62 – 33 percent approval rating for U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. Strong numbers for Gov. McAuliffe, Sen. Kaine and particularly Sen. Warner.

P.S. They kind of hid this in their detailed methodology section, but of course it’s important to know what their sample looked like…

Republican 26%
Democrat 33
Independent 34
Other/DK/NA 7

  • Kenneth Ferland

    Given the significant differences with this poll result and the others that show a very tight race I suspect their must be some major differences in methodology.

    Is anyone able to notice a pattern in things like partisanship make up of the polls, I find that who the pollster thinks will go to the polls is the largest source of error. If a pollster is using past elections as a guide then they can often miss a big ‘wave’. At first glance though I don’t see any such pattern.

    Instead it looks like this poll just has really strong numbers for Dems in key groups, women +27, whites -5, independents +23 compared to the just released Mason-Dixon poll which had terrible numbers in these groups, +4, -17, -8. The Independent swing of over 30 points in particular is huge and far beyond reasonable margins of error leading me to suspect a different definition of independent is being used between the polls.

    • June Genis

      These major difference are exactly why poll numbers should never be used to decide who can participate in official debates. The criteria involved are very subjective. On the other hand the criteria for appearing on the ballot are totally objective. Anyone who manages to jump through those significant hoops should be allowed to participate in all debates.

      • Kenneth Ferland

        For our presidential Debates the criteria should be appearing on the ballot in enough states to win the Electoral college. This keeps out folks who only appear in 1 state (of which their are MANY) while still allowing legitimate 3rd parties which routinely appear on the ballot in 40+ states.

        On a state level though I can see some legitimacy in using a polling cut off in the low single digits as some states have very easy ballot access and will see several ‘perennial candidates’ on their ballot.

        An alternative Criteria which is also fully objective might be partisan voter registration, if a party has a sufficient portion of the electorate registering with it this could be used for both ballot access and debate participation. I would also like to see partisan voter registration used as a means of public financing of parties (we have methods of public financing candidates but not parties), simply allocating parties a few dollars per registered member would be a huge improvement in transparency and fairness.

        • June Genis

          Don’t forget to include non-partisan representation in the criteria. Anyone unwilling to register D or R is a potential 3rd party voter. At least half, perhaps all, of the non-partisan registration figure should be added to each third party registration total if the criterion for inclusion is registration.

          • You can’t register as “D” or “R” in Virginia, as there’s no party registration…

          • June Genis

            Clearly then Virginia should use ballot qualification as the only criteria. I wouldn’t say Virginia has too easy ballot access.

          • Kenneth Ferland

            Yes I know, were an open primary state (which is the only legitimate form of state sponsored primary IMHO even if their is partisan registration), so partisan registration serves no purpose in Virginia at this time. If such registration were used as a means of funding and ballot access then it would have a point, were clearly discussing very hypothetical aspirational methodologies here, not attempting to describe the current rules.

          • Kenneth Ferland

            No that’s not remotely appropriate, we can not assume that people registered as independent are anything but independent, all parties must be treated equally. The only effect independents have is to reduce the raw numbers any party needs for access as the threshold is a percentage of voters who actual register with a party. For example if Partisan registration is 50% and a party needs 5% then they really only need 2.5% all all voters.