Virginia Election Eve Poll Results

On a press call held today, CASA in Action, NextGen America, and America’s Voice joined Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions to discuss the findings and implications of election eve polling of Virginia’s voters. The poll, which sampled white, African American, Latino and Asian American voters, was co-sponsored by AAPI Victory Fund, the African American Research Collaborative, America’s Voice, CASA in Action, Latino Victory Fund, and NextGen America.

Poll toplines here  Summary deck here  Press call here.

Matt Barreto, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Latino Decisions, highlighted some of the key takeaways of the Election Eve poll of Latinos, Asian American, African American, and white voters:

• Gillespie’s over-reliance on anti-immigrant race-baiting did not work.
• Voters were aware the campaign had become heavily racialized and moved from Gillespie, towards Northam.
• In the final three weeks, there was a significant increase in outreach with communities of color.
• Among people who reported seeing ads or discussions of Gillespie as anti-immigrant, there was an overwhelming vote in favor of Northam.
• Virginians are pro-immigration and support welcoming policy towards immigrants.

CASA in Action President Gustavo Torres, said, “We turned hate into political power, and we did it because we organized. Last night, 9 out of the 9 candidates we endorsed won their elections. We are electing people who look like the face of the new Virginia. We are very proud of the first two Latinas in the Virginia House of Delegates Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala as well as Kathy Tran who arrived to this country as a refugee when she was a child. Unity and equality won last night, and will win again in 2018 midterm election.”

Executive Vice President, Political Strategy, NextGen America Sky Gallegos, said, “In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, NextGen America made a public and strong commitment to engaging on the issue of immigration. We believe that immigration is fundamentally an issue of justice — that every human deserves dignity, respect, and a chance at the American Dream, and last night’s results in Virginia proved that voters of all backgrounds agree. Last night was an outright rejection of Trump’s racist agenda and a clear win for a more inclusive, progressive vision of the future.”

America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry, said, “Last night, a coalition of people of color and suburban white voters in Virginia, New Jersey, and elsewhere made a powerful statement: We are stronger when our diverse community stands united against racism and xenophobia. Voters soundly rejected hate, immigrant bashing, and racism across the country. The nativism and divisiveness of Trumpism lost big last night. In fact, the stale and simplistic debate in Democratic circles about “identity politics” vs. “reaching white voters” was obliterated last night. The new paradigm, on display in every key race, is that bottom-up mobilization efforts that turn out base voters, combined with persuasion strategies that hit a broader universe of voters, is the key. It’s not ‘either/or,’ it’s ‘both/and.’”

Latino Decisions takeaways from Election Eve poll of 1,600 Virginia voters, with over samples of African American, Latino and Asian American voters. [Toplines, crosstabs, and deck here]

Gillespie’s over-reliance on anti-immigrant race-baiting did not work:

• Among white voters in Virginia, a majority were less enthusiastic about Gillespie because of the ads, and they had an overall net effect of -23 on enthusiasm for Gillespie among whites.

• Latinos and Asian Americans strongly rejected the MS-13 ads as anti-immigrant with overwhelming majorities of each group saying the ads made them less enthusiastic about Gillespie.

In the final three weeks, there was a significant increase in outreach with communities of color:

• Double-digit increase in the numbers of Latino, AAPI and African American voters who reported being contacted by a campaign or civic group in the final three weeks.

• There was a 19-point increase in the number of Latinos who thought Gillespie was anti-immigrant (from 22 to 41) and a 16-point increase in the number of AAPI voters (from 16 to 32).

• White voters increased their view that Gillespie was anti-immigrant over the final three weeks (from 17 to 35).

• There was a similar increase in awareness of Northam as pro-immigrant with Latinos (+15), Asians (+13) and African Americans (+11) all registering double-digit increases in the percent who identified Northam as welcoming and friendly to immigrant communities.

Voters were very aware that the campaign had become heavily racialized and this moved them away from Gillespie and towards Northam:

• 62% of Latinos saw ads or heard discussions comparing Gillespie to Trump for his anti-immigrant stance and attack ads against immigration.

• While Latinos had the highest level of awareness, it penetrated all communities with 54% of African Americans, 42% of AAPI and 44% of whites saying they were aware of such ads.

Among people who reported seeing these ads or discussions of Gillespie as anti-immigrant, there was an overwhelming vote in favor of Northam:

• African American vote was 89 Northam to 8 Gillespie (+81)

• Latino vote was 82 Northam to 15 Gillespie (+67)

• AAPI vote was 73 Northam to 26 Gillespie (+47)

• White vote was 57 Northam to 42 Gillespie (+15)

Among people who did not report seeing these ads calling Gillespie anti-immigrant:

• Latino vote was 57 Northam to 40 Gillespie (+17)

• AAPI vote was 66 Northam to 31 Gillespie (+25)

• African American vote was 88 Northam to 9 Gillespie (+79)

• White vote was 29 Northam to 69 Gillespie (-40)

Virginians are pro-immigration and support welcoming policy towards immigrants:

• Statewide 58% of all voters said that Northam’s support for in-state tuition for Dreamers made them more enthusiastic about his campaign, only 30% were less enthusiastic, giving him a net overall boost of 28 points.

• This was especially resonant with minority voters who were significantly more enthusiastic about Northam because of his support for in-state tuition, including 74% of Latino voters, 61% of AAPI voters and 80% of African American voters.

• Even among white voters, Northam held a net enthusiasm advantage of +16 on in-state tuition (51 to 35).


Latino Decisions interviewed a total of n=1,735 voters in Virginia who participated in the November 7, 2017 statewide election, including n=431 Latinos, n=404 Asian Americans, n=403 African Americans, and n=497 whites. Surveys were conducted November 2-6 to a voter list of likely voters, and then screened to identify only those respondents who had already voted early/absentee or said they were 100% certain to cast a ballot in the election. The survey was available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese at the respondent’s discretion.