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Poll: Republicans, Democrats, Terry McAuliffe all scarred by budget, Medicaid stalemate

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteVirginia is still without a budget for the coming fiscal year, Democrats and Republicans are no closer to an agreement on Medicaid expansion, but there may be some impetus for change coming from the hinterlands.

A new poll conducted by the Christopher Newport University Center for Public Policy suggests that a supermajority of Virginia voters and taxpayers want the two sides to come together, and that none of the players in the debate – Republicans, Democrats and Gov. Terry McAuliffe – would emerge from a possible government shutdown unscathed.

Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said they expect to see both sides compromise to get a budget done for the 2014-2016 biennium, with 15 percent saying they think Democrats should back down from their position that the state should expand its Medicaid rolls by more than 400,000 Virginians, and 12 percent saying they think Republicans should back down from their position that the Medicaid rolls should be left as is.

That pressure from the voters and taxpayers could play a role in pushing the two sides toward a compromise that otherwise did not seem likely before a possible July 1 government shutdown.

Most Virginians seem confident that the two sides will come to a compromise, with 61 percent saying they are either not very worried or not worried at all that state government will shut down on July 1 due to the budget standoff. But if there is a shutdown, both parties will suffer, with 65 percent of voters saying Republicans and Democrats will share the blame equally. McAuliffe, too, will take a hit, with 78 percent of Virginians saying that he will share some or a lot of the blame.

“Nobody will come through a shutdown in Richmond without scars,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, the director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at CNU. “Virginians seem to be cautiously optimistic that the two sides will find some kind of compromise, but, if no compromise happens, voters are ready to heap blame on everyone.”

Other takeaways from the poll:

– McAuliffe has a positive net approval rating, with 44 percent of voters approving of his job performance, and 32 percent not approving.

– The General Assembly has a negative net approval rating, with 33 percent approving of the body’s job performance, and 41 percent not approving.

– A surprising 73 percent would support actions by Gov. McAuliffe using executive orders to keep state government in the event of a shutdown.



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