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Virginians divided along political party lines, according to new survey from UMW

Rebecca Barnabi
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Division between political parties is apparent in Virginia as voters prepare to go to the polls on November 7.

Upcoming legislative elections, and local races, are on the line.

According to a statewide survey from the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, Virginians are divided almost evenly with 40 percent favoring Democratic Party majorities in the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia for 2024. Thirty-seven percent prefer Republican legislative majorities.

Research America Inc. polled 1,000 Virginian adults between September 5 and September 11, and results concluded that 42 percent would like to see Democrats in charge and 42 percent favor Republican control.

“Virginia has rapidly returned to its purple state status,” Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at UMW and the Center’s director. “This new statewide survey shows that Virginia’s voters are basically evenly divided as they approach the upcoming Virginia legislative elections.”

Education was on the minds of survey respondents, including 64 percent who said Virginia public school policies would be a major factor in their vote.

The Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade is also on the minds of voters with 53 percent of survey respondents saying the decision will be a major factor on Election Day. Seventy percent of Democrats considered abortion a major factor in the upcoming elections, while only 35 percent of Republicans considered abortion. Twenty-three precent said abortion should be legal in all cases and 34 percent said it should be legal in most cases. Only 27 percent of respondents opposed abortion in most cases, and 8 percent opposed abortion in all cases.

Threats to democracy are the most important problem according to 21 percent of Virginians, followed by 20 percent who are concerned about inflation, 16 percent concerned about the economy and jobs and 10 percent about immigration.

“Virginia midterm elections are at least partially a referendum on the incumbent governor, who has served nearly half a term at that point,” Farnsworth said.

Forty percent of Virginians in the new survey approve of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s job performance compared to 37 percent who disapprove. Among Republicans, 74 percent thought Youngkin was doing a good job compared to 36 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.