Impact of Congressional Turnout

Turnout matters, and it was one important factor in the razor-thin margin in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race.

Statewide turnout was about 41 percent – but the number of people who showed up at the polls varied greatly in each of the state’s congressional districts.

The most voters turned out in the reliably Republican 7th District, which had a high profile congressional race to replace former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Turnout in the district was 46% of registered voters. Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie came out of the 7th with more than a 35,000-vote lead. Had the district turned out at the statewide average and Gillespie’s margin stayed the same, the Republican would have received nearly 4,000 fewer votes.

The fewest voters turned out in the heavily Democratic 3rd District, where Rep. Bobby Scott was running unopposed. Turnout in the district was 35% of registered voters. Democratic Senator Mark Warner came out of the 3rd with a nearly 89,000-vote margin.  Had the 3rd District turned out at the statewide average and his margin stayed the same, Warner would have received about 14,000 additional votes.

*Note: These turnout figures are preliminary and do not include absentee and provisional ballots. The State Department of Elections has not yet posted Congressional District-level results for the race.


Nov. 5, 2014