Survey shows Virginia voters are mostly moderate

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 5, 2021

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Virginia voters rank themselves moderate, leaning slightly conservative, but support Democrats’ proposals on health care, immigration, environmental policy and economic fairness, according to a survey released today by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University.

“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.”

Here are the highlights of the survey:

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• Asked to place themselves on a 0-10 scale (liberal to conservative, with a midpoint of 5), Virginia voters’ average was 5.83. Republicans’ self-score was 8.11, Democrats’ 3.57, and independents’ 5.72.

• On health care, a strong majority of Virginia voters support changes to U.S. policy, with the strongest support for a Medicare for all-that-want-it program (76%).

• On immigration, a strong majority of Virginia voters (73%) support providing a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants now in the U.S., with even stronger support (94%) for “Dreamers.”

• On environmental policy, two-thirds of voters (65%) support a “Green New Deal” to address climate change by government investment in “green” jobs and infrastructure.

• Asked to rank problems in the economy, 61% of Virginia voters point to unfairness in the system favoring the wealthy, as do 93% of Democrats and 72% of independents, while 70% of Republicans say the more important problem is over-regulation of the free market interfering with growth.

• Overall, 69% of Virginia voters favor imposing a higher tax rate on annual income over $1 million.

• The survey reveals more policy gaps between self-identified Republicans and ideological conservatives than between Democrats and ideological liberals, possibly reflecting turmoil in the Republican ranks.

“Virginia voters regard Republicans as more conservative than they regard Democrats as more liberal,” Wason Center Academic Director Dr. Quentin Kidd said.