Poll: Virginia Voters Satisfied With State But Not U.S.

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Gov. McDonnell

Virginia voters are three times more satisfied with the ways things are going in the commonwealth than they are about the state of the country, as Gov. Bob McDonnell remains wildly popular with voters with a 62-22 percent job approval rating, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.

Virginians say 52-42 percent that putting tolls on parts of Interstate 95 is a bad idea, but they would favor increasing tolls rather than raising gasoline taxes 60-28 percent if money is used to pay for road repairs in the state, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.

While 38 percent of voters are more concerned about the safety of nuclear power after the North Anna nuclear plant was shut down because of the August earthquake, 7 percent are less concerned and 52 percent say the shutdown did not affect their view.

Virginia voters approve 71-20 percent of using nuclear power to produce electricity and support 60-32 percent the construction of new nuclear plants in the commonwealth. Democrats are divided on new plants 44-45 percent and black voters oppose new plants 53-40 percent.

“Overwhelmingly, Virginia voters are happy with what’s going on in Richmond, but not so much with what’s coming out of Washington,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling institute.

Only 2 percent of voters are “very satisfied with the way things are going in the nation today,” compared to 10 percent who are “very satisfied” with the way things are going in Virginia. Another 17 percent are “somewhat satisfied” with things nationally compared to 56 percent who feel that way about the commonwealth. In all, 19 percent are very or somewhat satisfied about the country compared to 66 percent who are satisfied with life in Virginia.

“By more than 3-1, Virginians are happy with what’s going on in the state compared to the country and this optimism shows in their views of state politicians. All statewide elected officials, and even the State Legislature, get thumbs up for their job performance,” said Brown. “In these tough times that is pretty remarkable.”

“While there are some partisan differences in Gov. Bob McDonnell’s approval rating, even Democrats tie 40-40 percent in their approval of his job performance,” said Brown. “He should be careful not to bump his head on the ceiling.”

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has a 35-17 percent approval rating; Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is at 46-30 percent; U.S. Sen. Mark Warner has 61-24 percent and U.S. Sen. Jim Webb is at 51-27 percent.

The State Legislature has a 47-35 percent positive rating, the only legislature in any state surveyed by Quinnipiac University to get a positive rating.

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor gets a split 23-24 percent favorability rating, with 52 percent of voters saying they don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

“There might not be another state in the country where every statewide elected official – who come from different parties – and the legislature have a positive rating. These strong numbers obviously reflect the voters’ satisfaction with how things are going in the commonwealth,” said Brown.

“Virginians aren’t hot on the idea of tolling portions of Interstate-95, but they sure like the idea of tolls better than higher gas taxes,” said Brown. “In these days of political polarization, it’s worth noting that there are very little differences among Democrats, Republicans or independents on this issue.”

From October 3 – 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,459 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.

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About the Author

Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.