Home Off the table? Virginia polling shows supports for Obamacare, background checks, gay marriage

Off the table? Virginia polling shows supports for Obamacare, background checks, gay marriage


virginia-newRepublicans have had Obamacare, gun rights and gay marriage as go-to issues to use to rile up the base when necessary. It might be time to update the playbook.

New polling from Public Policy Polling shows surprising support in Virginia for the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, as Republicans styled it, trying to tie it like a weight around the neck of Democrats.

It’s a narrow plurality in the Old Dominion, 44 percent supporting the ACA to 42 percent who oppose it, but even tepid support shows that what was once a volatile issue is no more.

On a related issue, Medicaid expansion, a hot-button state-level issue in the past two General Assembly sessions, has the support of 56 percent of Virginians, with 30 percent opposed.

An overwhelming 86 percent support background checks on all gun purchases, including 84 percent of Republicans, making it clear that the background-check issue is a non-issue.

Gay marriage was made into a political issue in Virginia as recently as 2006, when Republicans engineered a statewide referendum to coincide with a U.S. Senate race that year as a way to get their voters to the polls. The referendum effectively banning gay marriage won a resounding victory even as Republican incumbent Sen. George Allen was upset in his re-election bid, so the effort came up short to that end, and now with the U.S. Supreme Court nullifying state laws banning gay marriage, the issue has lost its oomph.

In Virginia, 73 percent of voters say the gay marriage ruling has either had a positive impact on their lives or no impact at all, with only 27 percent saying that they feel the ruling has had a negative impact on their lives.

Even a majority of Republicans – 58 percent – say that the ruling hasn’t had any sort of negative impact on their lives.

It’s doubtful that Republicans can fan the flames of discord over the Confederate flag to add to their base. Overall, just 35 percent of Virginians support flying the Confederate flag over government buildings, with 51 percent opposed.

On this issue, there is a bit of a partisan divide, with Democrats split 16 percent supporting/74 percent opposing, independents at 33 percent supporting/49 percent opposing and Republicans at 60 percent supporting/26 percent opposing.

That one would be an interesting choice of a hill to die defending.

– Story by Chris Graham



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