Newest Wason Center Poll highlights priorities of Virginia voters

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 6:15 AM EST
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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WDBJ) - The newest poll from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership gives a glimpse of what is important to Virginia voters as the 2021 General Assembly debates new laws and the state budget.

The poll showed Virginia voters strongly back legalizing marijuana, requiring employees to provide paid sick leave and repealing the death penalty. When it comes to priorities for increased state spending, voters ranked health care and K-12 education highest and tourism and prisons lowest.

“These findings should help inform decisions as the 2021 session moves into its final weeks,” said Wason Center Academic Director Dr. Quentin Kidd.

Key findings show that 68% of Virginia voters support proposals to legalize marijuana, 56% support repealing the death penalty and 55% are in support of eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for some offenses.

When it comes to the workplace, 88% of voters support requiring employers to offer paid sick leave and 68% support allowing public employees to unionize and bargain collectively.

Regarding the state budget, 69% of Virginia voters support increasing spending on health care, 66% on K-12 education, 60% on economic development, 60% on social services such as food and housing aid, 60% on public safety and 50% on environmental protection. Overall, the poll showed fewer voters favor budget decreases.

Voters also strongly support the creation of state tax rebates for the purchase of electric vehicles, with 70% in favor.

The results were based on the responses of 1,039 Virginia residents, including 897 registered voters, conducted online January 18-25, 2021. For more information, click here.

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