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Survey says Virginia voters are slightly conservative moderates who side with Democrats on key issues

Posted at 1:47 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 20:00:22-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A newly-released survey from the Wason Center for Civil Leadership at Christopher Newport University showed while Virginia voters ranked themselves as slightly conservative moderates, they mainly supported Democrats when it came to policies about health care, immigration, the environment, and economic fairness.

“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.”

The survey found:

When 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
  • 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.
  • Independents generally align with Democrats, including 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. With Republicans, independents support increased spending on border security.

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