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The State of NoVa
Posted at 04:17 PM ET, 05/10/2011

NoVa way more liberal than RoVa, Post poll shows


Former Virginia governors Tim Kaine and George Allen. Kaine remains popular in NoVa; the rest of the state, not so much. (Getty Images (Kaine); Bill O’Leary/TWP (Allen))
In case there was any doubt that Northern Virginia is a liberal enclave in an otherwise conservative state, check out these tidbits from the new Washington Post poll of Virginians:

• Though a 2012 Senate race between George Allen and Tim Kaine is currently a deadlock statewide, Kaine has a whopping 61-34 percent advantage among registered voters in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria.

• In the entire Commonwealth, 42 percent of those polled support the Obama health care reforms — but that number jumps to 60 percent in Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria.

• Asked to classify themselves on social issues, fully 50 percent of Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria respondents called themselves “liberal,” compared with 31 percent for the rest of the state.

Not exactly shocking, right? But data is data, and the new Washington Post poll of Virginians on a variety of issues was kindly broken down by region for The State of NoVa by The Post’s polling team, headed by Jon Cohen and Peyton Craighill.

The Post’s poll in recent days has reported on the upbeat view Virginians have of the state’s direction and of Gov. Bob McDonnell, on the state’s opinions on gay marriage and abthe potential Allen-Kaine Senate race.

But those stories did not have the breakdowns for NoVa respondents, which we present here with some explanation.

The pollsters did not adhere to the long-held definition of “Northern Virginia” espoused by this blog, which limits NoVa to Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties and Alexandria. Instead, they created two areas: the “D.C. suburbs,” consisting of Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria; and “the Northern Virginia exurbs.”

The exurbs consist of Loudoun and Prince William, along with nine other counties thatlargely want nothing to do with us: Stafford, Spotsylvania, Fauquier, Clarke, Orange, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Warren and Frederick. That stretches to West Virginia in the west, and to Albemarle County (Charlottesville) in the south.

Combining the “D.C. suburbs” and “Northern Virginia exurbs” equals “Northern Virginia,” for purposes of The Post’s poll.

And, perhaps for reasons not related to politics, 63 percent of the respondents in all of Northern Virginia feel things in Virginia are going in the right direction, as compared to 49 percent in the Rest of the State. Our unemployment rate is lower and we have a robust government contracting sector.

Back to politics: Though 62 percent of the entire state approve of the way Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is doing his job, only 53 percent of Northern Virginians approve.

The potential Allen-Kaine race is the best example of how tightly concentrated Northern Virginia’s liberal population really is. Statewide, the race is a 46-46 percent toss-up among registered voters. In Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria, it’s 61-34 for Kaine. But in the Northern Virginia exurbs — the 11 other counties — it’s Allen 52 percent, Kaine 38 percent.

Combining the Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria group with the exurbs, Kaine still has a 57-36 percent advantage. The rest of the state goes Allen’s way, 49 to 43 percent.

There are other divides between Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria and the exurbs, also known as the Rest of Northern Virginia:

Though 60 percent of Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria respondents support Obama’s health care plan, that number drops to 44 percent in the Rest of Northern Virginia. In the rest of Virginia, the support is 38 percent.

When it comes to support of gay marriage, 64 percent of Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria backs it, while only 47 percent of the Rest of Northern Virginia does. Combining the two groups, 63 percent of Northern Virginia supports gay marriage, compared to 42 percent of the rest of the state.

The exurbs were slightly more liberal on gay adoption and abortion. While 68 percent of Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria respondents supported legalizing adoption by gay parents, 56 percent of those in the Rest of Northern Virginia did too. The rest of the state came in at 51 percent.

On legalizing abortion in all or most cases, 61 percent of the D.C. suburbs group backed it, as did 54 percent of the exurban group, compared with 51 percent in the rest of the state.

But when respondents were asked about their economic status, 32 percent of Fairfax-Arlington-Alexandria residents said they were “getting ahead financially.” Only 17 percent of the Rest of Northern Virginia respondents said that. For the rest of the state, the total was 15 percent.

Virginia poll graphic: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics-northern-virginia-style/2011/05/10/AFAFmKlG_graphic.html

By  |  04:17 PM ET, 05/10/2011

Categories:  Politics | Tags:  NoVa poll, Virginia

 
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