Just under a quarter said education is the most important, around 15% chose taxes, around 14% chose the coronavirus pandemic, and roughly a tenth chose abortion.
McAuliffe voters call the economy and the coronavirus their top issues, followed by education. Among Youngkin voters, the economy is the biggest issue, followed by education and taxes.
Most voters have a positive opinion of Virginia’s economy, with about 55% rating it as excellent or good.
Although early exit polls show the pandemic is not at the top of voters’ concerns, they are very likely to be vaccinated and a smaller majority support workplace vaccination mandates. The vast majority of Virginia voters, over 8 in 10, say they have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and just over half say they favor employers requiring their employees to be vaccinated.
McAuliffe holds a sizable lead among voters who call the pandemic the biggest problem. The small minority of unvaccinated voters overwhelmingly support Youngkin, while McAuliffe holds a smaller majority among vaccinated voters. More than 80% of those who support a workplace mandate are in favor of McAuliffe, while nearly 9 in 10 of those who oppose are in favor of Youngkin.
In his final argument to voters ahead of election day, Youngkin sought to center the national implications of the race, in part, on education.
Preliminary exit poll results show about half of voters in Virginia say parents should have a say in what their children’s school teaches, with about a third saying parents should have a say to say, and just over one in 10 saying they should have little or no to say. This sentiment is even more pronounced among parents of children under the age of 18, over 60% of whom say parents should have a say.
Voters support candidates along party lines
Voters’ opinions on McAuliffe are underwater, while their opinions on Youngkin are modestly positive. About three-quarters of voters – including similar shares of those who support each candidate – say they view their choice for governor as being more in favor of their candidate than against his opponent.
Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly back their party’s candidates, with Independents breaking slightly in favor of Youngkin. Youngkin also carries male voters by around 12 points and white evangelicals by around 76 points. The exit poll also suggests a slim advantage for Republicans in the suburbs, an area that shifted to Democrats during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Voters in Virginia in this year’s election hold negative views on President Joe Biden and Trump. Biden, who won comfortably in Virginia last year, now faces significantly underwater approval ratings in the state, with around 45% approval and the rest disapproving – likely a consequence of both his ratings down since taking office and the makeup of the electorate who voted this year. Only about a fifth of voters say they view their vote as a way to express their support for Biden, with nearly 3 in 10 saying it is a way to voice their opposition, and the remaining half of the electorate saying Biden was not a factor. Trump is no longer popular in the state: only about 4 in 10 people view him favorably.
McAuliffe, in the closing days of the campaign, had crisscrossed the state, making the Virginia election a chance for Democrats to validate their eight years of Democratic leadership in the Commonwealth by delivering the Republicans and the former president with defeat. before the critical elections of 2022 and 2024..
A different electorate
A slim majority of voters say the Democratic Party is too liberal overall, while fewer say the Republican Party is too conservative. About two-thirds of Democratic voters say their own party’s ideology is about right, while about two-thirds of Republicans say the same about the GOP. Independents are less satisfied with either party, with just under a quarter saying the Democratic Party is generally right, and only about a third of the GOP.
Over 80% of voters say they are at least somewhat confident that votes in the state will be counted accurately, but just under half say they are very confident. Democrats are about four times more likely than Republicans to say they are very confident about the accuracy of the election.
Virginia’s electorate in the race for governor does not look like it did in the last election, preliminary results suggest.
About 74% of the electorate is white, up from around two-thirds in the 2017 governor’s election and the 2020 presidential election. The electorate is also older than it was ago. one year – only around a tenth is under 30, up from 20% in 2020.
The Virginie CNN Exit Poll is a combination of in-person interviews with voters on election day and telephone and online surveys measuring the opinions of absent by mail and early voters. It was conducted by Edison Research on behalf of the National Election Pool. In-person polling day interviews were conducted at a random sample of 35 polling stations in Virginia from 1,840 voters on election day. The results also include 2,068 interviews with early and absent voters conducted by phone, online or text. The results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.