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United States Elections

Virginia Governor Election 2017 Predictions and Results

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Virginia Governor Election 2017

The home for Virginia governor election 2017 predictions and results on Electionarium is right here. Who will win the Virginia governor’s race?

Every four years, Virginia elects a new governor. 2017 is the next such time, showing that Virginia is one of only a few odd-year election states. Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, leaves after his sole term, and the race to replace him gets hotter by the day. Will the Democrats hold this seat, or is this a Republican gain in the making?

From now until the election, we will update this page with our projections. When the election’s over, we match our predictions with reality. This is all very simple.

Virginia Governor Election 2017: Final Results

Virginia Governor Election 2017 election results

Virginia Governor Election 2017 election results map

Virginia Governor Election 2017 election results map direction of swing

Election night was a big surprise to those of us who expected a close election. Ralph Northam won, and we did see that coming, but his margin of victory exceeded our wildest expectations.

Given that Northam won a resounding victory, that’s a lot of red on the “direction of swing” map. Most counties in Virginia swung towards Ed Gillespie. The state as a whole, however, did not. You can attribute this to three pockets of blue that dominated the state. First, obviously, Northern Virginia. These were the heaviest pro-Democratic swings in the commonwealth, where Northam ran up the score. Second is the Richmond area. Chesterfield County, to the south of Richmond, had been a Republican bastion, but Democrats made inroads there again. Henrico County to the north also brought forward good results. Finally, the Tidewater, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Suffolk.

Southwest Virginia does not have the population to offset the swings in the three population centers of Virginia, all of which swung Democratic.

Virginia Governor Election 2017: Final Overall Prediction

Virginia Governor Election 2017 prediction 11-6-17

Virginia Governor Election 2017: Final Prediction Analysis, November 6

We batted this around for a while, but decided to take a very narrow Ralph Northam win in our final Virginia governor prediction for 2017. Regardless, there are some legitimate reasons why to feel like either outcome is a possibility.

Why Northam Will Win: Northam, the Democrat, has been the favorite throughout the campaign. Most opinion polls agree that he still is. We are in what is believed to be a Democratic-favorable electoral climate. Virginia has also trended blue over the years, with Democrats on a positive string of results in the commonwealth. Additionally, a local news report suggests a high mail-in ballot response in Fairfax County, a blue northern bastion that Northam needs to win big.

Why Gillespie Will Win: The momentum in this race belongs to Ed Gillespie, the Republican. While Northam leads in many polls, those margins tightened. Aside from one that gave Northam a massive advantage, the trend is to the Republicans. The Washington Post recently suggested that Democrats are on edge about this race. Finally, Gillespie’s opponent flip-flopped on the sanctuary city issue, a surprising pivot to the right that suggests this race is closer than people think.

Based on the preponderance of the evidence, it makes sense that Northam is just slightly ahead. In a total cop-out, we’ll also say it wouldn’t be a shock if Gillespie pulled out a 1-2 point win. This is no slam dunk, that’s for sure.

Virginia Governor Election 2017: When Do The Polls Open? When Do The Polls Close?

The polls in Virginia open at 6:00am Eastern. They close at 7:00pm Eastern. Virginians in line at 7pm will get to vote.

Virginia Governor Election 2017: Past Analysis, October 20

Virginia Governor Election 2017 prediction 10-20-17

Only one poll in the last several months — the Monmouth Poll — gave Ed Gillespie (R) the lead in this race. If they’re right on election night, then everybody else is wrong and that’s the real tea.

The advantage of Ralph Northam (D) in this race has been consistent and notable. Some have the lead leaking into the double digits, which is a worst-case scenario for the GOP. We don’t think it will get quite that bad for Ed Gillespie, but his victory in November would be an upset. Not a huge upset, but a surprise nonetheless.

As for the Washington Post, they say Gillespie is “surging.” He trails across the board, which belies a surge. Sure, he’s in a better position than he was in the Senate race he almost won, but 2017 is not 2014. The national environment is a little more hostile for Republicans, and Virginia is perhaps a touch bluer. Yet, that same cited article noted that Gillespie is the preferred candidate on the economy, If you believe people vote with their wallets, then Gillespie is not done.

Virginia Governor Election 2017: Past Prediction & Analysis, October 10

Virginia Governor Election 2017 prediction 10-10-17

There does not appear to have been much change in Virginia’s governor’s race. Ralph Northam continues his lead in virtually all public opinion polls, with an advantage of varying percentages. Some are in the single digits, while others go far beyond that. We maintain a conservative approach to this election for several reasons.

First, opinion polls for state races in Virginia have recently overestimated Democratic support. Terry McAuliffe led by seven points on average in the last eight polls, and won by less than three. Mark Warner led Gillespie anywhere from four to 12 points down the stretch in Virginia’s 2014 Senate race, and won by about a point. Finally, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 average lead from October was seven points, and this included an outlier showing Donald Trump ahead. Clinton won by about five points. This is a small offset, but not unnoticed.

Second, we figure that Virginia still retains some of its redness, and Northam has not yet pulled away. Gillespie can still carry Virginia Beach, Richmond’s southern suburbs, and almost everywhere else outside of NoVA.

Finally, we figure the Libertarian candidate will flatten out around two percent. Bob McDonnell isn’t dragging down the Republican brand locally, and Gillespie is a better candidate than Ken Cuccinelli. Less of the GOP vote will bleed off to a third party contender this time. Some might say Donald Trump will be a factor, but that remains to be seen.

Virginia Governor Election 2017: Past Prediction & Analysis, September 10

Virginia Governor Election 2017 prediction 9-10-17

After a brief narrowing in the polls, Ralph Northam finds himself ahead again. That advantage lies between five and seven points, depending on whom you ask. One thinks back to Gillespie’s near-upset in the 2014 Senate race, but this is a different environment. Nobody saw that coming, but that was a favorable Republican environment. This is not as favorable.

Now is the time when people “pay attention” to the election. With other national and world events, it’s a little murky, but they will get there. Some polls show undecideds near 20 percent, which will fade in time.

Virginia Governor Election 2017: Past Analysis, Summer 2017

The polls begun to narrow in this race after Ed Gillespie (R) and Ralph Northam (D) won their respective primaries. Previously, Northam led Gillespie by a wide margin.

Ironically, Gillespie was expected to have the less competitive primary, while Northam was to have a big fight on his hands. It was Gillespie in a very close call, and Northam won the Democratic primary decisively.

Virginia Governor Election 2017: Supporting Links

For all sorts of information on voting in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Elections has you covered.

Links to the main candidates’ websites: Ralph Northam (D) | Ed Gillespie (R) | Cliff Hyra (Libertarian)

Electionarium’s United States election predictions compendium and calendar is right here.

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