MOST SAY NA­TION ON WRONG PATH

But HU poll finds Vir­gini­ans are gen­er­ally more op­ti­mistic about their own cities and coun­ties

Daily Press - - Front Page - By Dave Ress Staff writer

Vir­gini­ans by and large think their com­mu­ni­ties are headed in the right di­rec­tion, and split evenly when asked about the state — but over­whelm­ingly think the coun­try is headed the wrong way.

Some 70% say the coun­try is go­ing in a bad di­rec­tion, a new Hamp­ton Univer­sity-As­so­ci­ated Press/NORC poll shows.

“Most Vir­gini­ans are pleased with how things are go­ing in their com­mu­nity, but few regis­tered vot­ers are happy with the di­rec­tion of the coun­try on a va­ri­ety of key is­sues,” said Kelly Harvey-Viney, di­rec­tor of Hamp­ton Univer­sity’s Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy.

“While partisansh­ip plays a role in how peo­ple feel about their com­mu­ni­ties and state, it is par­tic­u­larly di­vi­sive when peo­ple think about the coun­try over­all,” she added.

The poll shows Vir­gini­ans aren’t big fans of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — 60% said they have an un­fa­vor­able view of him while about half have an un­fa­vor­able view of Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Joe Bi­den.

The poll did not ask who peo­ple would vote for on Elec­tion Day, but it did ask what fac­tors would be im­por­tant to them.

For those with a fa­vor­able view of Trump, 70% said iden­ti­fy­ing with him, sup­port­ing Repub­li­can Party poli­cies and op­pos­ing Bi­den were what mat­tered to them.

For those giv­ing Bi­den fa­vor­able rat­ings, 83% said op­pos­ing Trump was im­por­tant, with only about half say­ing sup­port for Demo­cratic

Party poli­cies or iden­ti­fy­ing with Bi­den were.

Over­all, 59% of vot­ers sur­veyed said Trump doesn’t care about peo­ple like them, 57% said he is not a strong leader and 62% said he doesn’t have good judg­ment. Asked about Bi­den, 57% said he cares about peo­ple like them, 52% said he is a strong leader and 54% said he has good judg­ment.

On man­ag­ing the pan­demic, some 56% think Trump would not do a good job while 60% think Bi­den would man­age the cri­sis well. But 59% think Trump would man­age the econ­omy well, while 51% think Bi­den would.

Some 80% are con­fi­dent that their county or city elec­tion of­fi­cials will count votes ac­cu­rately — but only 57% say the same about the na­tional results.

About one-third think preschool, schools and col­leges should be open, either as usual or with mi­nor ad­just­ments. Some­what more think open­ing is pos­si­ble only with ma­jor ad­just­ments. About onequar­ter think schools should re­main closed.

Two-thirds think the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem needs either a com­plete over­haul or ma­jor re­form.

Some 83% think po­lice of­fi­cers who use ex­ces­sive force should be pros­e­cuted, while 56% think po­lice should lighten up on mi­nor of­fenses. But only 23% fa­vor re­duc­ing po­lice fund­ing.

Vir­gini­ans split fairly evenly when asked if Con­fed­er­ate stat­ues should be re­moved and on re­nam­ing schools and pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties hon­or­ing Con­fed­er­ate lead­ers.

Some 79% fa­vor uni­ver­sal back­ground checks for gun pur­chases, 71% fa­vor red flag laws al­low­ing courts to pre­vent peo­ple deemed a dan­ger to them­selves or oth­ers from hav­ing guns, 56% fa­vor let­ting lo­cal­i­ties ban guns in pub­lic build­ings and 49% fa­vor a ban on AR-15 ri­fles and other semi-au­to­matic weapons.

The poll sur­veyed 830 Vir­ginia regis­tered vot­ers. It has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 4.4 per­cent­age points, in­clud­ing de­sign ef­fect, at the 95% con­fi­dence level. That means 100 sur­veys, with in­ter­vie­wees se­lected the same way and asked the same ques­tions would yield the same results within that mar­gin of er­ror 95 times.

Ad­if­fer­ent sur­vey by the student poll­sters of Christo­pher New­port Univer­sity’s Wason Cen­ter tracked the HU poll find­ings on po­lice re­form and school op­er­a­tions.

The CNU poll found 46% of Vir­ginia vot­ers sup­port a hy­brid school op­er­a­tions model with limited in-per­son in­struc­tions dur­ing the pan­demic, with 28% sup­port­ing en­tirely on­line op­er­a­tions and 23% want­ing en­tirely in-per­son in­struc­tion.

On po­lice re­form, 76% want pub­lic re­ports when force is used and a pub­lic data­base on po­lice mis­con­duct, while 70% want civil­ian over­sight boards to re­view po­lice mis­con­duct and 56% want to make use of choke­holds a crime.

The CNU poll sur­veyed 796 likely Vir­ginia vot­ers, and has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 3.6 per­cent­age points, in­clud­ing de­sign ef­fect ad­just­ment.

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