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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Neck-and-Neck,
But Gilmore's Tax-Cut Plan Holds Greater Support

Washingtonpost.com Staff
July 1997

A Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research poll on the Virginia governor's race found the candidates in a dead heat in late July. But it also found far greater support for the Republican candidate's tax-cut plan than the Democrat's. (Details follow below.)

The copyrighted poll was conducted July 24-26, with 810 likely Virginia voters interviewed by telephone on the matchup between Lt. Gov. Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D) and former state attorney general James S. Gilmore III (R). Gilmore led in the poll by just 1 percentage point. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Gilmore's tax-cut plan received the support of 32 percent of those interviewed, compared to 23 percent for Beyer's.

General Election Matchup: Who Would You Choose?
Beyer (D) Gilmore (R) Undecided
May 1997 41% 43% 16%
July 1997 42% 43% 15%


Do You Recognize the Name?
Yes No
Gilmore (R) 91% 9%
Beyer (D) 93% 7%


Do You Have a Favorable or Unfavorable View of the Candidates?
(of those who recognized the names) Favorable Unfavorable Neutral
Gilmore (R) 32% 17% 42%
Beyer (D) 36% 21% 36%

This set of questions refers to the candidates' tax and spending plans:

Question: Each candidate for governor has proposed his own tax cut and spending plan. Based on what you know about each of these plans, which candidate's proposal do you favor -- that of Democrat Don Beyer or that of Republican Jim Gilmore?

All
Voters
Gilmore
Voters
Beyer
Voters
Undecided
Voters
Gilmore Plan 32% 64% 7% 9%
Beyer Plan 23% 3% 52% 2%
Not Sure 45% 33% 41% 89%


Question: Which of the following tax cut and spending plans would you be more inclined to support -- Plan A or Plan B? (Note: The order of the plans was rotated while poll subjects were being interviewed.)

  • Plan A will cost $1 billion over the next five years. It would allow a married couple earning up to $75,000 annually a tax credit of $250 for taxes paid on one or two vehicles and an individual earning up to $40,000 annually a tax credit of as much as $150 for the tax paid on one vehicle. The plan would spend $1.5 billion on education, police and economic development initiatives over the next five years.

  • Plan B will cost $1.6 billion over the next five years, eliminating $20,000 of assessed value for all personal vehicles, and would eventually eliminate the personal property tax on vehicles within five years. The plan would spend $641 million in new education and police programs over the next five years.

All
Voters
Gilmore
Voters
Beyer
Voters
Undecided
Voters
Plan A 18% 7% 26% 24%
Plan B 55% 64% 46% 57%
Not Sure 27% 29% 28% 19%


Question: Which of the following should Virginia's next governor put a higher priority on? (Note: The order of the priorities was rotated while poll subjects were being interviewed.)

  • Cutting taxes and controlling government spending, OR
  • Increasing spending on schools, roads and social services?

All
Voters
Men Women
Cut Taxes 57% 70% 44%
Increase Spending 29% 19% 39%
Not Sure 14% 11% 17%

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