Voters favor Amazon move, ERA, sports betting and casinos

graphicGraphic: Wason Center

Virginia voters are in a positive mood and are feeling good about Amazon HQ2, the Equal Rights Amendment, sports betting and casinos, according to the latest poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. They also want their share of the state’s windfall from tax reform.

By more than two to one, Virginia voters approve of the deal that will bring part of Amazon’s east coast headquarters to Virginia. Overall, 68% approve and 30% disapprove.

Voters support legalizing sports betting (63%) and casinos (58%) and want any related tax revenue to support education and the general fund. But 43% worry that legalization will promote gambling addiction.

Across party lines and demographic groups, a very strong majority of voters (81%) supports ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in the 2019 session. Virginia would be the 38th state to ratify the ERA. That would reach the threshold by which the ERA would become part of the U.S. Constitution, but opponents argue the deadline for passage expired in 1982.

 “The legal standing of ratification may be murky, but Virginia voters are very clear that they want the 2019 General Assembly to pass the ERA,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center.

A very strong majority of voters (78%) supports amending Virginia’s Constitution to transfer the power to draw new political districts from the General Assembly to an independent commission, a reform intended to reduce political gerrymandering.

With Virginia expecting state tax collections to increase as much as $600 million due to federal tax changes, voters like the idea of general tax cut (75%) or a tax credit for low-income to moderate-income Virginians (62%).  Asked to choose, they slightly favor the tax cut (49%) over the tax credit (46%).

Northam trumps Trump

Voters gave Gov. Ralph Northam high marks, with 59% approving of his job performance and 24% disapproving. By contrast, 35% approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance and 57% disapprove.

The Wason Center conducted 841 interviews of registered Virginia voters, including 294 on landline and 547 on cell phone, Nov. 14-30. The survey’s overall margin of error is +/- 3.7%. Subgroups are higher.

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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.