MOST SAY NATION ON WRONG PATH
But HU poll finds Virginians are generally more optimistic about their own cities and counties
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.