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August Poll Finds Candidates in Virtual Dead Heat,
But Men More Likely to Support Gilmore Than Women

Washingtonpost.com Staff
August 27, 1997

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found in a late-August poll that the race for Virginia governor is a close one -- but that significant differences in support exist based on voters' gender, age, race and other factors.

Of the 802 adults interviewed Aug. 15-26 by VCU's Survey Research Laboratory, 40 percent said they would support former attorney general James Gilmore III (R) in the general election matchup. Thirty-six percent said they would support Lt. Gov. Donald Beyer Jr. (D). The 4 percent difference is negligible, because the poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

The poll showed that gender, age, race, region and income do make a difference in preferences. (For detailed charts, see below.) For example, Beyer snagged 41 percent of the potential women's vote, to Gilmore's 31 percent. And Gilmore cornered 50 percent of the men's vote, to Beyer's 29 percent.

In addition, Beyer held the overwhelming majority of support from black voters, while Gilmore led with white voters. Beyer led with the youngest group of potential voters, those 18-29, while Gilmore led with all other age groups.

Beyer edged out Gilmore in the D.C. suburbs and western Virginia, while Gilmore held strong leads in the northwest, Tidewater, and south central regions. And Beyer edged out Gilmore with Virginians whose family income was less than $35,000 a year, while Gilmore captured those in the upper-income brackets.

The poll was sponsored by VCU and the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, a daily newspaper. Of those surveyed, 569 said they were registered to vote and would likely go to the polls in November.

The pollsters also asked Virginians about their support for proposals to cut the personal property tax. VCU has provided a press release and analysis of those responses.


General Election Matchup | Party Identification | Age | Race | Region of the State | Family Income | Personal Property Tax | Virginia Taxes | Likelihood of Voting | Born-again Christian



General Election Matchup
Jim Gilmore (R) Don Beyer (D) Don't Know
Among All Voters
Among Men
Among Women
40%
50%
31%
36%
29%
41%
25%
20%
29%

Party Identification
Democrats
Leaning Democrat
Independent/No Preference
Leaning Republican
Republican

7%
8%
21%
68%
81%

71%
66%
22%
12%
7%

22%
25%
57%
20%
12%

Age
18-29
30-44
45-64
65 and older

33%
46%
40%
36%

39%
35%
37%
30%

28%
18%
23%
34%

Race
White, other
Black

45%
11%

32%
56%

23%
34%

Region
Northwest
D.C. suburbs
West
South Central
Tidewater

43%
38%
32%
45%
42%

28%
43%
38%
30%
34%

29%
19%
30%
25%
24%

Family Income
Under $20,000
$20,000-$34,999
$35,000-$49,999
$50,000 and above

34%
37%
51%
44%

35%
41%
24%
37%

30%
21%
25%
19%

Virginia's personal property tax is . . .
Much too high
Somewhat high
About right/too low
Don't know

44%
40%
32%
9%

31%
37%
42%
44%

24%
22%
26%
47%

How do Virginia taxes compare with other states?
Higher
Lower
About the same
Don't know

46%
30%
39%
40%

30%
42%
38%
34%

24%
28%
23%
27%

Your likelihood of voting?
Definitely will vote
Probably will

43%
32%

37%
31%

20%
36%

Born-again Christian?
Yes
No

45%
38%

33%
37%

22%
25%


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