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Poll: Virginia voters ideologically moderate, but support Democratic proposals

Virginia state seal (FILE)
Virginia state seal (FILE)(WVIR)
Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 11:29 AM EDT
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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WDBJ) - A new poll from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership shows Virginia voters rank themselves as moderate, but support some Democratic proposals.

Participants were asked to place themselves on a scale of 1 to 10, from liberal to conservative. The average was 5.83, leaning slightly conservative. Republicans’ self-score was 8.11, Democrats’ was 3.57 and independents’ 5.72.

However, many Virginia voters largely support Democratic policy proposals on health care, immigration, environmental policy and economic fairness.

  • On health care, the poll showed a strong majority supported changes to U.S. policy, with the strongest support for Medicare for all-that-want-it program (76%). When it comes to immigration, 73% supported providing a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. with even stronger support (94%) for “Dreamers.”
  • 65% of Virginia voters surveyed supported a “Green New Deal” to address climate change by government investment in “green” jobs and infrastructure.
  • 61% of participants said the economic system was unfair in favor of the wealthy, with 93% of Democrats and 72% independents agreeing. 70% of Republicans said the more important problem is over-regulation of the free market interfering with growth. 69% of Virginia voters favor imposing a higher tax rate on annual income over $1 million.

The Wason Center said the survey revealed more policy gaps between self-identified Republicans and ideological conservatives than between Democrats and ideological liberals, potentially reflecting turmoil in the Republican ranks. Independents tend to align with Democrats, including on their support for Medicare for all-that-want-it, a $15 minimum wage, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, government investment in “green” jobs and a wealth tax. Independents align with Republicans on increased spending on border security.

“These findings reveal a political danger zone between policy and ideology,” Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo said. “That will become a war zone as this year’s election for governor and House of Delegates tests whether the Democrats moved too far and too fast with a progressive legislative agenda since they won full control two years ago.”

Virginia voters regard Republicans as more conservative than they regard Democrats as more liberal,” Wason Center Academic Director Dr. Quentin Kidd said. “The question is, where’s the sweet spot in this election?”

The results of this study are based on interviews of 1,003 registered Virginia voters, including 427 on landline and 576 on cell phone, conducted February 28- March 17, 2021 The margin of error overall is +/- 3.8%. The full report can be found online here.

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