UVA Center for Politics (Abridged) Newsletter on 2005 Gubernatorial Poll

CFP banner

Note: CSR has abridged this webpage to show only the Center for Politics' Press Releases concerning the 2005 Gubernatorial post-election survey. None of the text has been altered. To view the original page on the Center For Politics website, click here.

Center for Politics Survey Shows Politics is a Labor of Love

Kilgore voters more likely to be in love that Kaine or Potts voters

Is Virginia for lovers? Absolutely, according to a University of Virginia Center for Politics survey conducted following last fall's gubernatorial election and released on the eve of Valentine's Day. According to the poll, 81 percent of adults in the Commonwealth report currently being "in love." However, this figure varies considerably across demographic and political groups. While only 61 percent of 18-24 year olds report being in love, for example, 78 percent of 25-34 year olds and 89 percent of those 45-54 years old say they are in love (see Table).

The survey did not ask about who the objects of respondents' affection were, but there is good news for marriage: A full 97 percent of married people report being in love, compared with 46 percent of those who are divorced, 48 percent of those who are widowed, and 53 percent of people who have never been married.

When it comes to politics, there are some striking findings: More than 84 percent of Republicans say they are in love, along with 83 percent of Independents, compared with only 75 percent of Democrats. Similarly, Kilgore voters were more likely than those voting for either Kaine or Potts to be in love.

Third Poll Table

"There may be no love lost between Republicans and Democrats in the nation today, but at least here in Virginia, people of all partisan persuasions are likely to have found love in their lives," said Larry Sabato, Director of the UVA Center for Politics. "And while Republicans may have lost the last two elections for Governor, they can take comfort from the fact that they currently lead Virginia's love parade."

The survey found that men are more likely than women both to say they don't know whether they're in love and to refuse to answer the question at all. Among those who did give an answer, married men are slightly more likely than married women to say they're in love. However, among people who are not married, women are more likely than men to report being in love.

What's Love Got to Do With It?

A lot, at least when it comes to political engagement. People in love are more likely to say they pay attention to government and politics: 31 percent say they pay "a great deal of attention," compared to only 23 percent of those who are not in love.

Respondents in love were almost six percentage points more likely to report having voted in last fall's gubernatorial election than less amorous Virginians. Lovers were also more likely to have discussed the election campaign with someone, to have watched or listened to a campaign speech, to have volunteered to work for a campaign, and to have contributed money to a party or candidate. In fact, the only activity that people in love were less likely to take part in was watching a candidate debate on television.

"To a great extent these patterns reflect the impact of being married," explained Paul Freedman, Associate Professor of Politics and Research Director for the Center's survey. "We know that for a number of reasons married people are more likely to take part in political activity, and because married people also tend to be in love, love seems to have a beneficial effect when it comes to politics." Freedman noted that among unmarried people, pursuing love can sometimes be a distraction, leading to lower levels of political activity.

In the aggregate, the political effects of love are clear: Being in love makes it more likely that one will pay attention to politics and take part in a range of political activities.

"This poll may have uncovered one of the keys to engaging more people in politics. All you need is love," said Sabato. "Can political party dating services be far behind?"

About the Survey

The Center for Politics Post Election Survey was commissioned by the UVA Center for Politics and conducted in partnership with the UVA Center for Survey Research. Interviews with 1,181 randomly selected Virginians (including an oversample of young people 18-24 years old) were conducted by telephone over the three weeks following the November 2005 election. The Data have been weighted to adjust for gender and age disparities. The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Question wording: "As of right now, would you say you are currently in love?" _____________________

Virginians Pick Warner Over Allen for President in '08 in Poll

Outgoing Governor Leads in All but Republican Democraphics

If the 2008 election for President of the United States were held today, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner would defeat US Senator George Allen in the Old Dominion by a heavy margin, according to a recent survey of Virginians conducted by the University of Virginia Center for Politics. The post-election survey showed support for Warner well ahead of Allen by a margin of 49 percent to 32 percent with 20 percent undecided or uncertain.* Warner leads within every demographic group except Republicans. See chart below for demographic subgroups.

"For now, in the state that knows them both best, Warner is the undisputed king of the hill. Much can change before 2008, of course, including the likelihood that only one of them will probably be lucky enough to make the November ballot (if that)," said Larry Sabato, Director of the UVA Center for Politics. "Allen would almost certainly beat any other Democrat but Warner in Virginia. On the other hand, this poll suggests that Warner could be the first Democrat since LBJ who can turn Virginia 'blue' in a Presidential election."

Second Poll Table

Survey results released last week show Warner has become one of Virginia's most popular Governors in the polling era, with 75 percent job approval in the Center for Politics survey, compared to 54 percent for Allen. Former Democratic Governor Mark Warner left office on Saturday, having elected fellow Democrat Tim Kaine as his successor over George Allen's protégé, Jerry Kilgore (R).

The Center for Politics Post-Election Survey was commissioned by the UVA Center for Politics and conducted in partnership with the UVA Center for Survey Research. Interviews with 1,181 randomly selected Virginians (including an oversample of young people 18-24 years old) were conducted by telephone over the three weeks following the November 2005 election. The data have been weighted to adjust for gender and age disparities. The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

The question wording for this portion of the poll was: "In the 2008 presidential race, if George Allen gets the Republican nomination and Mark Warner gets the Democratic nomination, for which Virginian would you vote?"

*Due to rounding, totals may not equal 100%.

Poll Reveals Women and Independents Key to Kaine Victory

Virginians Also Show support for Two-Term Governor

On the eve of the swearing in of Virginia's 70th governor, a new poll by the University of Virginia Center for Politics shows Governor-elect Tim Kaine bested his opponents in the November 2005 election in all major demographic categories except among Republican Party identifiers.

The post-election survey reveals that the election outcome turned on political Independents, who made up more than a quarter of the electorate and voted 67.4 percent for Kaine. While a majority of both men and women surveyed said they supported Kaine in the November election, the poll uncovered a gender gap of more than 10 percent, with almost 62 percent of women in the survey supporting Kaine, compared with only 52 percent of men.

"It was a clear and decisive victory in nearly every demographic category for Governor-elect Tim Kaine," said Larry Sabato, Director of the UVA Center for Politics. "Women and Independents were the keys to victory in the November election."

The survey also found that an overwhelming majority of Virginians would support a measure allowing a governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia to seek a second consecutive term* and showed an extraordinarily high job approval rating of nearly 75 percent for outgoing Governor Mark Warner.

"It is not surprising, given the remarkable popularity of Governor Warner that most Virginians support a constitutional amendment to allow a governor to serve a second term," said Larry Sabato, Director of the UVA Center for Politics. "The November 2005 gubernatorial election was, in many ways, a vote of confidence in the policies of the Warner administration. Just as their perception of the incumbent governor influenced their vote on Election Day, so too it appears to influence whether they believe a Virginia governor should be permitted to serve a second consecutive term."

"The strength of support for allowing governors to run for re-election is striking," said Paul Freedman, Associate Professor in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia and Research Director for the Center for Politics survey. "More than two- thirds of Virginians would support allowing governors to run for re-election; only 26.8 percent oppose (the rest say they don't know). Support for easing the one-term limit is strongest among Democrats (75 percent), but even 64 percent of Republicans endorse the notion. Virginia is the only state in the nation that does not permit a governor to serve two consecutive terms. This may be an idea whose time has come."

The Center for Politics Survey, the only post-election survey of its kind conducted in 2005, also provides some greater detail of the choices and demographics of voters who participated in the November 2005 election.

Tim Kaine garnered more than nine out of ten Democratic votes, while Jerry Kilgore received 83.4 percent of the Republican vote. Among all survey respondents, 36.8 percent identified themselves as a Republican; 32.8 percent identified themselves as a Democrat; 28.4 percent identified themselves as an Independent and 2 percent said they did not know. The following chart provides a breakdown of voter support based on gender, race, party affiliation and age.

First Poll Table

The Center for Politics Post Election Survey was commissioned by the UVA Center for Politics and conducted in partnership with the UVA Center for Survey Research. Interviews with 1,181 randomly selected Virginians (including an oversample of young people 18-24 years old) were conducted by telephone over the three weeks following the November 2005 election. The Data have been weighted to adjust for gender and age disparities. The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of +/- 2.85 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Additional results of the survey will be released in the coming weeks.

*Respondents were asked, "Currently governors in Virginia may not run for re-election and can serve for only one four-year term. Would you favor or oppose letting Virginia governors run for re-election?"

Download: