Posted on November 3, 2021

Independent Voters Favor Youngkin as He Clinches Victory in Virginia

Ariel Edwards-Levy, CNN, November 3, 2021

Republican and Democratic voters overwhelmingly supported their parties’ candidates in the gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, according to the preliminary results of CNN’s Virginia exit poll, with independents breaking in favor of Youngkin, who CNN projected would clinch the win.

A similar partisan pattern held down ballot in key Virginia races, with CNN projecting Republican Winsome Sears as the next lieutenant governor of the state.

Youngkin also carried male voters in this year’s election by a roughly 12-point margin, White women without college degrees by about 50 points and White evangelicals by about 76 points — all broader margins than then-President Donald Trump posted over Joe Biden among those demographics in the 2020 election and than Republican Ed Gillespie posted over his gubernatorial rival in 2017. The early exit polling also suggests a slim advantage for Youngkin in the suburbs, an area that shifted toward Democrats during Trump’s presidency.


In his closing argument to voters ahead of Election Day, Youngkin sought to center the national implications of the race, in part, on education.

Preliminary results of exit polling show that roughly half of Virginia voters say parents should have a lot of say in what their children’s schools teach, with about a third saying parents should have some say and a little over 1 in 10 saying they should have little or no say. That sentiment is even more pronounced among parents with children under 18, more than 60% of whom say parents should have a lot of say.

Roughly 6 in 10 Virginia voters say abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances. Just over half say that monuments to Confederate leaders on government property should be left in place; in the 2017 election, 57% of Virginia voters said such monuments should be left in place.


A narrow majority of voters say the Democratic Party is too liberal overall, while fewer call the Republican Party too conservative. About two-thirds of Democratic voters say their party’s ideology is about right, while about two-thirds of Republicans say the same of the GOP. Independents are less satisfied with either party, with just under one-quarter saying the Democratic Party is generally about right, and about one-third saying that of the GOP.

More than 80% of voters say they’re at least somewhat confident that votes in the state will be counted accurately, but slightly below half call themselves very confident. Democrats are roughly four times as likely as Republicans to say they’re very confident about election accuracy.

Virginia’s electorate in the governor’s race doesn’t look the same as it has in recent elections, the preliminary results also suggest.

Roughly 74% of the electorate is White, compared with about two-thirds in the 2017 governor’s election and the 2020 presidential election. The electorate is also older than it was a year ago — only about one-tenth are under 30, compared with 20% in 2020.