Poll: Majority of Virginians say GA special session failed to address systemic racism

Poll: Majority of Virginians say GA special session failed to address systemic racism
(Source: Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A majority of Virginians felt that the General Assembly’s 2020 special session did not address systemic racism, according to a recent poll from VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

The summer session was initiated by Gov. Ralph Northam and was expected to address pandemic budget concerns and systemic racism in the commonwealth.

The poll — which was conducted Dec. 11-30 — found only 14% of Virginians felt the passed legislation confronts racism, and 18% of Virginians thought the policies failed to address the issue at all.

“An overwhelming majority of Virginians feel that the 2020 special session of the General Assembly called by Governor Northam failed to address systemic racism or address the issue at all,” said former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. “Also, a plurality disapprove of Governor Northam’s use of $1 million for a yearlong investigation into racism at [Virginia Military Institute], and a majority also believe ethnic and racial diversity at the state leadership level and at the local level has led to increased segregation in our education system.”

Forty-seven percent of those surveyed disapprove of the racism investigation at VMI. Republicans, white people and those without a college education were more likely to disapprove of the racism investigation at 76%, 54% and 44% respectively.

The poll also found 41% of Virginians approve of the investigation.

Fifty-three percent of Virginians are concerned about the education system becoming increasingly segregated, while 43% say they are not concerned. Democrats and minorities were more likely to be concerned: 83% and 69%, respectively.

The poll surveyed 827 adults in Virginia with interviews conducted over landline and cellphone. The data set has a margin of error of 5.39%.

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