Unmarried Women Overwhelmingly Support Terry McAuliffe in Virginia Governor’s Race

November 5th, 2013

Rising Political Force Will Also Shape 2014 and 2016 U.S. Elections

Washington D.C. – Nov. 5, 2013 – By a landslide 42 points, unmarried women favored Democrat Terry McAuliffe over his Republican challenger in the Virginia governor’s race, exit polling shows. 67 percent of unmarried women (single, divorced, widowed, or separated) voted for McAuliffe as compared to just 25 percent for Cuccinelli. “The Virginia governor’s race has shown that, once again, unmarried women are a major political force in American politics that can make or break a race,” said Page Gardner, President of the non-profit Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund.

Pollster Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps, who is analyzing exit-poll data for the Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, said McAuliffe’s victory should serve as a wakeup call to politicians in 2014. “Terry McAuliffe’s exit-polling numbers confirm results we’ve seen in recent elections that unmarried women have become a massive – yet under-appreciated – political force in America,” Greenberg said. “As we look ahead to 2014 and 2016, candidates will have a clearer path to victory if they address the issues that matter to unmarried women, including pay, healthcare, and workplace protections for women with children.”

McAuliffe won big among unmarried women and other members of the Rising American Electorate (RAE) – made up of people of color, unmarried women, and youth aged 18-29, the exit polls show. As was widely reported last year, strong RAE support helped re-elect President Obama in 2012. Since then, Republicans have been issuing guidance on appealing to a broader coalition of voters including members of the RAE.

McAuliffe’s support among women was strong and he won with a decisive 50 to 42 point advantage, the exit polls show. But his support among unmarried was even more dramatic. “Tonight’s victory reaffirms the significance of marital status, more than just gender, in determining election outcomes. Candidates who ignore issues that matter most to unmarried women do so at their own peril,” Gardner said.

The exit polls show that, if unmarried women had voted like married women tonight, Cuccinelli would be the next governor of Virginia. 50 percent of married women voted for Cuccinelli, as compared to 41 percent of married women who supported McAuliffe.