New poll shows solid approval rating for McDonnell but not Obama
A new poll from Roanoke College shows that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)'s approval rating in Virginia is more than 20 points higher than President Obama's. But the same poll of 601 Virginians interviewed from Nov. 29 to Dec. 8 shows considerable ambivalence about one of McDonnell's leading policy proposals -- to sell off state-run liquor stores.
The Roanoke College poll indicates that 57 percent of respondents approve of how McDonnell is handling his job. Just 36 percent said the same of Obama. But the poll indicated that 40 percent of respondents believe Virginia should continue to run ABC stores to sell distilled spirits.
Eighteen percent said the state should get out of the liquor business. An additional 33 percent said they'd support ABC privatization -- but only if the state fully replaced the revenue it now makes from ABC stores. McDonnell's most recent proposal on the issue would bring in $47 million less each year than the state makes from its stores.
The poll found that 69 percent of respondents would like legislative districts to be redrawn after the 2010 census by a bipartisan commission instead of the legislature, as now occurs in Virginia.
Strong majorities favor tough stances on illegal immigration -- including allowing police to check immigration status during routine traffic stops (76 percent), requiring government to electronically verify the immigration status of workers (84 percent) and requiring school officials to collect information on students who they cannot prove are in the country legally (68 percent).
The poll showed that 54 percent of respondents favor the so-called Repeal Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would allow for federal laws to be repealed if two-thirds of state legislatures agreed. Conservatives will propose that the state legislature endorse the amendment during next year's legislative session.
The poll also showed that majorities of respondents believe government is trying to do too much and would favor paring back government services. But a very healthy majority (72 percent) said they support balancing the state budget through a combination of budget cuts and tax increases -- specifically, a sales tax hike -- and not relying on one avenue or the other.
Were the respondents of the poll representative of Virginians? More said they voted for John McCain than President Obama in 2008 -- a reverse from the state's actual vote that year. And 45 percent characterized themselves as "conservative" (35 percent said they were "moderate" and 17 percent "liberal.")
But 30 percent of respondents said they were Democrats, as opposed to 33 percent who said they were Republicans. Twenty-eight percent characterized themselves as independents.
Rosalind S. Helderman
| December 21, 2010; 2:44 PM ET
Categories: Barack Obama, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman
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