Northam and Gillespie Deadlocked; Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General Races Also Tied

Ralph Northam and Ed-Gillespie.

With just days remaining in the campaign, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie are tied (47%-47%), while Libertarian Cliff Hyra garners three percent of likely voters, and only three percent remain undecided, according to The Roanoke College Poll. The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research interviewed 781 likely voters in Virginia between October 29 and November 2 and has a margin of error of +3.5 percent.

Democrat Justin Fairfax and Republican Jill Vogel are tied (45%-45%) in the race for lieutenant governor, and incumbent Democrat Mark Herring and Republican John Adams are also tied (46%-46%) in the attorney general contest.

The race for governor — candidates’ standing and issues

Both Gillespie (45%-35%) and Northam (38%-36%) are viewed more favorably than unfavorably by voters. Hyra remains largely unknown with 84 percent of respondents not knowing enough about him to have an opinion.

The economy and health care continue to dominate as the most important issues in the campaign. Economic issues (jobs, growth, etc.) are seen as most important by 20 percent of respondents with another seven percent saying taxes and one percent referencing debt. Health care was named as the most important issue by 16 percent of likely voters, while education was thought to be most important by 10 percent.

Responses to questions regarding which candidate would do a better job on various issues can be seen in the table below.

Which candidate would do a better job on the issues?

Issue Ed Gillespie Ralph Northam
Economy 47% 39%
Health care 37% 49%
Jobs 44% 40%
Immigration 44% 39%
Education 40% 46%
Taxes 47% 37%
Guns 45% 39%


Among two important groups, Northam leads among ideological moderates (56%-34%), and trails Gillespie among political Independents (49%-40%). Northam has the support of 94 percent of Democrats, while Gillespie is supported by 94 percent of Republicans. Liberals favor Northam (89%-4%) while Conservatives prefer Gillespie (81%-17%).

President Trump, Governor McAuliffe, and The Parties

More than half of those polled (53%) disapprove of the way President Donald Trump his handling his job, and just over one-third (36%) approve. At the same time, a majority (55%) of respondents have an unfavorable view of him, while 34 percent have a favorable impression of Trump.

Almost half (43%) approve of the job Terry McAuliffe is doing as governor, while 36 percent disapprove. McAuliffe is viewed favorably by 38% of respondents.

The Republican Party is viewed unfavorably by 43 percent of likely voters (39% favorable), while the Democratic Party is also viewed unfavorably by 43 percent and favorably by 42 percent.


“Gillespie has improved his position among self-identified Independents,” said Harry Wilson, director of the Roanoke College Poll. “More of those respondents say they lean toward the Republicans than we saw in our most recent poll and they moved the results  favorably toward Gillespie and Republicans, but not President Trump. As we noted in the last poll, Republicans closed well in the 2013 and 2014 elections. This one may be following the same script.”

Interviewing for The Roanoke College Poll was conducted by The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Salem, Va. between October 29 and November 2, 2017.