Virginia Odds and Ends

| Tom Jensen

-PPP’s newest Virginia poll finds that voters in the state narrowly support the Affordable Care Act, 44/42. This really exemplifies how much opinions have shifted on Obamacare- it used to be that when we polled on it in any swing state it would be very unpopular. These numbers show that if anything the ACA will probably be a wash politically in the Presidential race next year and it may end up being a boon to Democrats if the trend of its increasing popularity continues.

Meanwhile Medicaid expansion remains a very popular concept with Virginia voters- 56% support it compared to only 30% who are opposed. That includes 54/32 favor from independents, who pretty well mirror the overall electorate on the issue.

-There is even more overwhelming support from Virginians on another pair of pieces of progressive legislation. 64% in the state think all workers should get a minimum number of paid sick days, with only 19% opposed to that concept. And an equal 64% think borrowers should be able to deduct their student loan payments on their state income taxes, to just 20% against that. On both of those issues there is agreement across party lines- 79% of Democrats, 59% of independents, and 52% of Republicans support paid sick days. And 69% of Democrats, 63% of independents, and 57% of Republicans favor deductions of student loan payments.

-The reaction of Virginians to the legalization of gay marriage in the state is proving to be a pretty resounding ‘no big deal.’ 73% of voters say it’s had either a positive impact on their lives or no impact at all, with only 27% claiming that’s actually been a negative thing for them. Even among Republican voters 58% grant that it hasn’t had any sort of adverse impact on them.

-In the wake of last month’s Charleston shooting Virginians are resoundingly in support of background checks on all gun purchases, and opposed to flying the confederate flag in public places. 86% favor background checks to just 8% who are against them, including 91% support from Democrats, 84% from Republicans, and 81% from independents. In the last month we’ve also found 86/10 support for them in North Carolina, 85/9 support for them in Michigan, and 90/9 support for them nationally.

Just 35% of Virginians support the flying of the Confederate flag over government buildings, to 51% who are opposed. Those numbers are similar to the 38/48 opposition we found in North Carolina last week. Even in southern states voters don’t think that flag should fly anymore. This is an issue though where the Republican base is well out of line with the public at large. In Virginia GOP voters support continuing to fly the flag 60/26 even as both Democrats (16/74) and independents (33/49) are strongly opposed. It was the same thing in North Carolina where Republicans (58/25) backed the flag while Democrats (22/68) and independents (37/47) opposed it. This attitude about the flag may complicate Republican efforts to expand the diversity of their party.

-Jim Webb and Jim Gilmore may be running 2 of the longest shot campaigns for President this year but they obviously still have a hankering for public office so we tested them against each other for an office they might be more reasonably equipped to run for- Lieutenant Governor. Webb leads Gilmore 43/35 in that hypothetical contest.

-Bob McDonnell remains unpopular with Virginians- 28% see him favorably to 41% with an unfavorable opinion. But that -13 spread actually represents a net 11 point improvement from last September when we found him at -24 (23/47). Maureen McDonnell hasn’t seen a similar gain in her image though- 10% see her favorably and 58% unfavorably, little different from 7/57 last fall.

-Virginians remain overwhelmingly opposed to changing the name of the Washington Redskins- only 22% support a change to 66% who are against it. Those numbers have moved little from 21/71 opposition to a name change that we found last fall. Republicans (5/89) and independents (19/74) are strongly against a change while Democrats (39/41) are pretty evenly divided.

The Redskins remain easily the most popular NFL team in the state with 28% fan support to 10% for the Cowboys, 7% for the Steelers, 6% for the Packers, and 5% for the Ravens.

-Virginia sports fans may be a little bit bandwagony. The first time we polled on baseball and college sports preferences in the state in 2011, the Braves won out on MLB loyalties and Virginia Tech beat out Virginia. Since then the Nationals have become an NL East power and Virginia baseball and basketball have had huge amounts of success while Virginia Tech football has taken a step backward and fan loyalties have shifted as well.

18% of Virginians identify themselves as Nationals fans to 12% for the Braves and Yankees, 10% for the Orioles, and 8% for the Red Sox. 4 years ago it was 19% for the Braves, 14% for the Yankees, and 11% for the Nationals.

Virginia beats out Virginia Tech for college sports loyalty 34/28. 4 years ago it was 32% for the Hokies and just 21% for the Hoos. There is a party divide with Democrats (34/23) strongly favoring Virginia and Republicans (36/34) going narrowly for Virginia Tech.

Full results here

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