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Poll: Virginia voters concerned about flood risk, want leaders to address it

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EDF Action, the advocacy partner of the Environmental Defense Fund, has released a statewide poll of likely 2021 Virginia voters ahead of this year’s statewide elections there.

The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, shows that there is broad, statewide and bipartisan support for taking action to protect the state from flooding. Voters not only overwhelmingly want the next governor to act to protect Virginia’s communities from flooding and support the state’s Coastal Resilience Master Plan, but they also strongly support spending state money to fund the Community Preparedness Flood Fund to meet the Commonwealth’s long-term flood preparedness needs.

“This survey shows that voters across Virginia, both inland and coastal and across all parties, see flooding as a real threat to the commonwealth and overwhelmingly believe that the next governor should take action to address it – including using state money to fund projects identified by the Coastal Resilience Master Plan,” said Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President, Research, Global Strategy Group.

“In recent years, Virginia has made significant strides in creating pathways to build flood resilience for our future,” said Emily Steinhilber, Director, Virginia Coastal Resilience,  for EDF Action. “This poll shows that voters across the commonwealth understand that climate change is impacting us now and are fully behind the important work to reduce our flood risk. At the same time, we have a tremendous opportunity to expand outreach efforts and engage more Virginians in this critical process.”

Key Findings

  • More than 77 percent of voters statewide — across parties and including both inland and coastal residents — want Virginia’s next governor to address the state’s flood risk.
  • 62 percent of statewide Virginia voters believe flooding, heavy rainfall and rising sea levels are already having a serious impact on Virginia.
  • 61 percent of voters say climate change is already having a serious impact on Virginia.
  • Nearly half of all coastal voters believe sea level rise will directly impact them in the next 10 years.
  • 81 percent of voters statewide want the commonwealth to have a regularly-updated, science-based plan that addresses flood risk.
  • At the same time, voters have little knowledge of the state’s Coastal Resilience Master Plan with 80 percent saying they have heard little or nothing about it.
  • Two-thirds of Virginia voters support using state dollars to fund the Community Preparedness Flood Fund, including majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Inland voters are 5 percent more supportive than coastal voters.
  • Only 17 percent of voters statewide and 33 percent of coastal voters indicate that they currently own flood insurance.
  • More than half of voters statewide said the state should prioritize nature-based solutions, like restoring coastal wetlands, to reduce flood risk.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press