Virginians Support Stronger Gun Measures; Clinton Has Narrow Lead

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new Virginia poll, conducted entirely after Sunday’s shooting in Orlando, finds broad support from voters in the state for a variety of gun control measures:

-88% of voters support background checks on all gun purchases, compared to only 8% who oppose them. That includes support from 93% of Democrats, 87% of independents, and 83% of Republicans.

-86% of voters support barring those on the Terrorist Watch list from buying guns, to only 7% who are opposed to taking that step. 89% of Democrats, 85% of Republicans, and 84% of independents support that change.

-55% of voters support banning assault weapons to only 33% opposed to such a ban. That is supported by Democrats (75/16) and independents (49/41), while Republicans (35/47) are against it.

The Presidential race in Virginia is pretty tight. Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 42-39, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 6% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 2%. In a head to head contest Clinton’s lead remains 3 points at 48/45. Clinton’s benefiting from Democrats in Virginia (83/8) being more unified around her than Republicans (76/5) are around Trump. But with independents Trump’s up 42/29.

A big part of that is Clinton still having some trouble getting Bernie Sanders fans to consolidate around her. Among Democrats or independents with a favorable opinion of Sanders she gets 68% to 8% for Trump, 7% for Johnson, 5% for Stein, and with 12% of voters undecided. If Clinton could get even half of those Sanders fans who are currently holding out right now to vote for her, her lead would expand from 3 points to 9.

One question that’s already not close is whether Virginia would rather Barack Obama or Donald Trump was President- Obama wins out on that question 52/41, calling into question how bright of a political strategy it is for Trump to trash Obama all the time. Virginia makes another state where Trump is remarkably unpopular- only 32% of voters see him positively to 60% with a negative view.

Showing once again the impact that Trump’s power of suggestion has on his fans, 18% of voters with a favorable opinion of Trump think Barack Obama might have been involved in the terrorist attack in Orlando on Monday, and another 23% of them say they aren’t sure one way or another. Only 59% explicitly rule out Obama involvement. Of course to put the views of Trump fans in context, Robert E. Lee has a 65/7 favorability rating with them, compared to only 48/28 for Martin Luther King Jr. They say they have a higher opinion of Lee than King by a 44/31 spread, surely just another sign of the economic anxiety purportedly driving his support.

We did find one issue where voters side with Trump though. Only 36% think he should delete his Twitter account, compared to 42% who think he should keep it going.

Finally we tested a variety of running mates for Hillary Clinton…and found just how little running mates matter. In a hypothetical scenario where Elizabeth Warren is Clinton’s running mate, she leads Trump 47/43. In a hypothetical scenario where Tim Kaine is Clinton’s running mate, she leads Trump 47/43.  And in a hypothetical scenario where Mark Warner is Clinton’s running mate, she leads Trump…wait for it…47/43. The only slight deviation comes when we look at Jim Webb as a possible Trump running mate- in that hypothetical Clinton’s lead over Trump expands to 6 points at 47/41, as voters evidently aren’t big on the concept of him on the ticket.

Full results here

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