Growing Muslim Vote Helps Virginia Turn Blue

According to voter advocacy group EmgageUSA.org, between 2012 and 2016, American Muslim voter turnout increased by 66.6% in Virginia. Among registered voters, that means a huge increase from approximately 60,000 to 100,000 signifying that Muslim voters are rapidly increasing in the Old Dominion state becoming a major voting bloc, which may soon surpass Hispanic and Asian voters as the state’s most powerful Democrat bloc vote.

blue_logo
By Jay O’Callaghan l November 27, 2017

A record turnout of Muslim voters in Virginia provided the icing on the cake for Democrat Ralph Northam’s November 7th 54% mini-landslide victory over Republican Ed Gillespie, according to an exit poll taken by the Muslim advocacy groups Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Virginia Council of Muslim Organizations (VCMO). The poll claims that 76% of registered Virginia Muslim voters turned out compared to a 47 per cent turnout of all Virginia’s registered voters in this off-year governor’s race.

The exit poll also shows that Northam set the all-time Virginia record for a Democrat of support from Muslim voters receiving 85% to Gillespie’s 13% with Libertarian Cliff Hyra at 2%. This is much higher than Democrats’ previous support in earlier CAIR exit polls. Virginia Muslim voters provided a 72,000 vote cushion for Northam based on an EmgageUSA estimate of 100,000 Muslim registered voters in Virginia. The Muslim vote produced one third of Northam’s 233,000 voter win over Gillespie among all Virginia voters.

According to CAIR’s presidential exit poll, Hillary Clinton scored 74% of the Muslim vote compared to Donald Trump’s 13% in 2016. In that election, an amazing 90 per cent of registered Virginia Muslim voters turned out. Overall turnout among Virginia voters was a much lower 72 per cent. The Virginia Muslim vote gave Clinton a 61,000 voter edge over Trump. In that election, Muslims gave Clinton one fourth of her 233,000 vote margin over Trump among all Virginia voters.

CAIR’s 2014 Virginia U.S. Senate exit poll found that 79 percent of respondents voted in favor of Democrat incumbent Mark Warner to 17 percent for Ed Gillespie in that race and 3 percent for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. In Virginia’s last Governor’s race of 2013, a CAIR pre-election poll reported that 68 percent of respondents supported the Democrat candidate, now Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. In that race, 12 percent of Virginia Muslims reported that they would vote for Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and 4 percent supported Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. In that poll, the remaining 16 percent of voters declined to say for whom they voted for Governor.

In 2014, 76 percent of Virginia Muslim registered voters turned out, matching this year’s record Muslim turnout. “Muslim voters were energized and engaged, turning out at almost twice the average of all American voters in previous midterm elections,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. In Virginia, only 41 percent of all voters voted in 2014. In that election, Muslim voters gave Warner a 36,000 voter margin, which was twice Warner’s tiny 18,000 voter edge.

In 2013, the CAIR and VAMCC polls indicated that 78 percent of registered Virginia Muslim voters turned out to the polls in the off-year gubernatorial election, which was slightly higher than in 2017. This compares with a 42 percent turnout of all Virginia voters in 2013. Muslim voters provided a 31,000 voter margin of victory in that election, which was more than half of the Democrat’s election edge.

National and state Muslim organizations estimated that Virginia had some 60,000 registered Muslim voters in 2013. McAuliffe’s 2013 win over Cuccinelli was a narrow victory with 54,870 votes between the two candidates. “Virginia Muslim voters’ large turnout in an off-year state election and their support for McAuliffe certainly had a part to play in the newly elected governor’s victory,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw.

According to voter advocacy group EmgageUSA.org, between 2012 and 2016, American Muslim voter turnout increased by 66.6% in Virginia. Among registered voters, that means a huge increase from approximately 60,000 to 100,000 signifying that Muslim voters are rapidly increasing in the Old Dominion state becoming a major voting bloc, which may soon surpass Hispanic and Asian voters as the state’s most powerful Democrat bloc vote.


Jay O’Callaghan has worked extensively with issues involving the U.S. Census Bureau including serving as a professional staff member for the House Government Reform Census Subcommittee, as a senior legislative analyst for the Florida House of Representatives Redistricting Committee and for two U.S. House members. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis, of the Conservative-Online-Journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

Related Articles