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Poll: Close election reveals divided priorities among Virginians

vcuA new statewide Commonwealth Poll finds that 30 percent of Virginians viewed the economy as the most important issue behind their vote in the statewide November election.

Education (21%), women’s reproductive rights (16%), the coronavirus (12%) and taxes (9%) were additional reasons for voting.

The Commonwealth Poll was conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Republicans were more focused on the economy (44%) than independents (30%) and Democrats (16%). Independents (25%) were the most concerned about education, while Republicans (20%) and Democrats (19%) prioritized education similarly.

Democrats were far more focused on women’s reproductive rights (30%) than independents (14%) and Republicans (4%), and also prioritized the coronavirus higher (16%) than independents (11%) and Republicans (8%). Finally, Republicans were much more likely to say that their top consideration in the November election was taxes (15%), compared to 9% of independents and 3% of Democrats.

Are the country and the Commonwealth heading in the right direction?

Almost 60 percent of Virginians stated that they felt the country is on the wrong track, while 36 percent feel the country is heading in the right direction. Democrats were more likely to feel that the country is heading in the right direction (65%) than independents (32%) or Republicans (11%).

Almost 90 percent of Republicans in Virginia feel that the country is on the wrong track.

Virginians were more evenly divided on their feelings toward the state, with 51 percent of respondents saying that things were heading in the right direction and 40 percent saying that things were on the wrong track. Politically, about half of independents (55%), Democrats (51%) and Republicans (50%) believe the Commonwealth is heading in the right direction.

“These new poll results confirm what was revealed prior to the election. (The Commonwealth Poll was the first to suggest the closeness of the gubernatorial race). Education is and appears to continue to be tops among voter concerns. Taxes and the economy are accompanying priorities with voters. The poll results indicate more concerns about issues affecting people than party affiliation,” former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said.

Biden approval

Almost half (47%) of Virginians disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president of the United States, and 46 percent approve. However, the split along political lines is stark. Four in five Democrats approved of how he is handling the job (80%), while 44 percent of independents approve, and only 10 percent of Republicans approved.

For the full poll results and analysis, visit

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