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Gilmore Pulls Ahead of Beyer in Va. Governor's Race

Washingtonpost.com Staff
Thursday, October 23, 1997

Republican James S. Gilmore III has taken a 7 percent lead over Democrat Donald S. Beyer Jr. in the race for Virginia governor, according to the latest Washington Post poll.

The poll also asked questions on the attorney general and lieutenant governor races, as well as on abortion and tax-cutting proposals.

The poll, conducted Oct. 19-21, was based on random telephone interviews with 1,005 likely voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall results. The margin of sampling error is only one of many potential sources of error in this or any other public opinion poll.

Below is the complete poll, including the questions pollsters asked and the responses. Interviewing was conducted by Chilton Research of Radnor, Pa.

(Note: * indicates a percentage of less than 0.5.)


1. Some people have busier schedules than others. Because of this, some people who plan to vote can't always get around to it on election day. With your own personal daily schedule in mind, I'd like you to rate the chances that you will vote in the state general election in November. Are you absolutely certain to vote, will you probably vote, are the changes about 50-50, less than 50-50, or don't you think you will vote in that election?

  • Are you absolutely certain to vote?
  • Will you probably vote?
  • Are the chances about 50-50?
  • Less than 50-50?
  • Or don't you think you will vote in that election?

Certain
Probably
50-50
Less than 50-50
Will not vote
No opinion
68%
15%
10%
2%
4%
1%


2. As you may know, the candidates in November's election for governor include: James S. Gilmore, the Republican, and Donald S. Beyer, the Democrat. Suppose the election were held today. For whom would you vote? (Note: Questioners switched the order of the candidates' names when asking respondents.)

All Voters Men Women
Gilmore
Beyer
Undecided
48%
41%
11%
54%
34%
12%
42%
47%
11%

Voters in
Northern Virginia
Voters in the
rest of the state
Gilmore
Beyer
Undecided
47%
45%
8%
48%
40%
12%


3. Which one are you leaning toward right now?

Gilmore
Beyer
None (vol.)
Other (vol.)
Wouldn't vote (vol.)
No opinion
24%
20%
18%
8%
1%
29%


4. Would you call yourself a strong supporter of (candidate choice) or not a strong supporter?


All
Gilmore
Beyer
Strong supporter
55%
60%
51%
Not a strong supporter
41%
37%
46%
No opinion
4%
3%
4%


5. Will you definitely vote for (candidate choice) or do you think there is at least a chance that you'll change your mind by election day?


All
Gilmore
Beyer
Definitely
73%
76%
70%
Chance to change mind
25%
22%
29%
No opinion
1%
2%
1%


6. How interested are you in the governor's race?

  • Very interested
  • Fairly interested
  • Not too interested
  • Not interested at all

Total Interested
Very interested
Fairly interested

Total not interested
Not too interested
Not at all interested

No opinion

91%
48%
42%

9%
7%
2%

1%


7. As you may know, the candidates in November's election for lieutenant governor include: John Hager, the Republican, and L.F. Payne, the Democrat. Suppose the election were held today. For whom would you vote?

Payne
Hager
Undecided
44%
39%
17%


8. Which one are you leaning toward right now? (Note: Pollsters read the survey respondents the names as choices.)

Hager
Payne
None (vol.)
Other (vol.)
Wouldn't vote (vol.)
No opinion
16%
18%
22%
10%
*
34%


9. Would you call yourself a strong supporter of (candidate choice) or not a strong supporter?


All
Hager
Payne
Strong supporter
45%
49%
42%
Not a strong supporter
51%
49%
54%
No opinion
3%
2%
4%


10. As you may know, the candidates in November's election for attorney general include: Mark Earley, the Republican, and William Dolan, the Democrat. Suppose the election were held today. For whom would you vote?

Earley
Dolan
Undecided
44%
38%
18%


11. Which one are you leaning toward right now?

Earley
Dolan
None (vol.)
Other (vol.)
Wouldn't vote (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
14%
10%
22%
11%
0%
43%


12. Would you call yourself a strong supporter of (candidate choice) or not a strong supporter?


All
Earley
Dolan
Strong supporter
51%
55%
47%
Not a strong supporter
48%
44%
52%
No opinion
2%
1%
2%


13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that George F. Allen is handling his job as governor?

Approve
Disapprove
No opinion
66%
27%
6%


14. Generally speaking, how would you rate the overall economy of Virginia:

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Not-so-good
  • Poor

Total Excellent/Good
Excellent
Good
Total Not-so-good/Poor
Not-so-good
Poor
No opinion
83%
16%
67%
16%
13%
3%
1%


15. Are you better off or worse off financially now than you four years ago?

Better off
Worse off
About the same
No opinion
55%
18%
26%
*


16. Please tell me how important the following issues are in deciding how you'll vote for governor this year. Is the issue of (read item) the single most important issue in determining your vote, one of several important issues, but not the most important, or not an important issue to you?



A. Improving transportation and roads
B. Holding down taxes
C. Improving public
education
D. Strengthening the state's
economy
E. Reducing crime
F. Strengthening family
values and morality
G. Reforming welfare
Most
important

13%

27%
37%

20%

31%
28%

26%
One of
several

62%

63%
57%

70%

64%
51%

63%
Not
important

25%

10%
5%

9%

4%
20%

10%
No
opinion

*

*
*

1%

1%
1%

1%


17. Generally speaking, do you think it should be made easier or harder for a woman to obtain a legal abortion?

Easier
Harder
No change
Undecided
38%
36%
16%
10%


Is the abortion issue:

  • The single most important issue in determining your vote for governor?
  • One of several important issues, but not the most important?
  • Not an important issue to you?

Most important
One of several
Not important
No opinion
10%
52%
36%
1%


18. Do you think that the campaign for governor has been mainly about the issues that you really care about, or not?

Mainly issues I care about
Not issues I care about
No opinion
57%
37%
6%


19. I'm going to mention two plans that have been suggested for cutting taxes in Virginia.

One plan would virtually eliminate the state personal property tax on personal vehicles, up to $20,000 of assessed value. The plan would be phased in over five years, and would cut state tax revenue by a total of between $1.6 billion to $3 billion. Do you favor or oppose this plan?

Favor
Oppose
No opinion
66%
28%
6%

20. How about:

Another plan would give an income tax credit of up to $250 to families earning less than $75,000 a year or up to $150 to individuals earning less than $40,000 a year. The plan would take effect immediately, and would cut state tax revenue by a total of $1 billion. Do you favor or oppose this plan?

Favor
Oppose
No opinion
54%
37%
9%

21. (Asked of those who favored both plans) Of the two plans mentioned, which do you most strongly support? (Note: Questioners rotated the plans as they asked survey respondents.)

Plan 1 would virtually eliminate the state personal property tax on personal vehicles, up to $20,000 of assessed value. The plan would be phased in over five years, and would cut state tax revenue by a total of between $1.6 billion to $3 billion.

Plan 2 would give an income tax credit of up to $250 to families earning less than $75,000 a year or up to $150 to individuals earning less than $40,000 a year. The plan would take effect immediately, and would cut state tax revenue by a total of $1 billion.

Plan 1
Plan 2
Neither/
No Opinion
54%
28%
18%

Note: Plan 1 is Gilmore's plan and Plan 2 is Beyer's plan.


22. Which view comes closest to the way you feel?

A. The state property tax can be cut without also having to cut spending on important state programs and services such as education, public safety and transportation and road construction.

B. A cut in the state property tax would inevitably mean that spending on important state programs would also have to be cut.

View A
View B
No opinion
59%
34%
7%


23. Do you think that Donald Beyer generally sticks to his positions on important issues, or do you think that he is willing to change his positions on important issues if it means gaining political advantage?

Sticks to his positions
Willing to change
Undecided
26%
55%
19%

(Of those who said Beyer is willing to change) Does this bother you a lot, a little, or not at all?

A lot
A little
Not at all
No opinion
49%
34%
16%
1%


24. Do you think that James Gilmore generally sticks to his positions on important issues, or do you think that he is willing to change his positions on important issues if it means gaining political advantage?

Sticks to his positions
Willing to change
Undecided
39%
44%
17%

(Of those who said Gilmore is willing to change) Does this bother you a lot, a little, or not at all?

A lot
A little
Not at all
No opinion
38%
39%
23%
1%


25. Would you favor or oppose a state law that would require a girl younger than 18 to get the permission of one parent before she could obtain a legal abortion?

Favor
Oppose
Undecided
74%
23%
3%


26. Would you favor or oppose a state law that would require that a wife inform her husband before she could obtain a legal abortion?

Favor
Oppose
Undecided
49%
44%
7%


27. Do you think the campaign for governor has been too negative, or not?

Too negative
Not too negative
No opinion
48%
45%
7%


28. Has one candidate's campaign been particularly negative?

Gilmore's
Beyer's
Both
No
No opinion
8%
15%
21%
47%
8%


© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company


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