Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia’s gubernatorial election on Tuesday 47.9 percent to 45.5 percent (with 6.6 percent going to Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis), even though McAuliffe lost among women—who are married.
According to the exit poll published by CNN, Cuccinelli defeated McAuliffe among married women 51 percent to 42 percent, with Sarvis taking 7 percent.
Cuccinelli also defeated McAuliffe among married men, 50 percent to 44 percent, with Sarvis taking 6 percent.
Thus, according to the exit poll, Cuccinelli was the clear victor among married people (defeating McAuliffe 50 percent to 43 percent among this demographic), and was slightly more popular among married women than among married men.
However, McAuliffe won a 62 percent to 29 percent landslide among unmarried Virginians.
The Democrat was especially popular with unmarried women, defeating Cuccinelli among that group 67 percent to 25 percent, with Sarvis taking 9 percent. Among unmarried men, McAuliffe bested Cuccinelli 58 percent to 33 percent, with Sarvis taking 9 percent.
One reason the race was so close was because about twice as many married people went out to vote as unmarried people. According to the exit poll, 35 percent of Virginia voters were married women, 32 percent were married men, 18 percent were unmarried women and 16 percent were unmarried men.
Had a higher percentage of Virginia’s married people, especially married women, turned out to vote Cuccinelli could have won.
According to the Washington Post, only about 37 percent of Virginia’s eligible voters actually bothered to vote for their state’s governor on Tuesday. That was up slightly from the 36 percent who voted in Virginia’s gubernatorial election four years ago, but down massively from the 67 percent of eligible voters who turned out in Virginia 1989 gubernatorial election.
Objectively, neither of the major-party candidates did a very good job of turning out their own potential voters in Virginia’s gubernatorial election.