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Sunday, September 21, 1997
The Washington Post

Washington Post Virginia Governor's Poll:
Candidates Running Neck-and-Neck

The latest Washington Post poll is based on random telephone interviews with 808 adults from Sept. 12-16. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Below is the complete poll, including both the questions pollsters asked the respondents and the survey results. (Note: * indicates a response 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 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
69%
16%
8%
2%
4%
*


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?

Gilmore
Beyer
None (vol.)
Other (vol.)
Wouldn't vote (vol.)
No opinion
39%
38%
3%
1%
*
20%


3. Which one are you leaning toward right now?

Gilmore
Beyer
None (vol.)
Other (vol.)
Wouldn't vote (vol.)
No opinion
43%
44%
4%
0%
*
9%


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


All
Gilmore
Beyer
Strong supporter
47%
50%
44%
Not a strong supporter
48%
46%
51%
No opinion
5%
4%
6%


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
56%
57%
55%
Chance to change mind
42%
42%
42%
No opinion
2%
1%
3%


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

85%
40%
45%

14%
11%
4%

*


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?

Hager
Payne
None (vol.)
Other (vol.)
Wouldn't vote (vol.)
No opinion
32%
38%
4%
1%
*
24%


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
37%
41%
7%
*
1%
14%


9. 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
None (vol.)
Other (vol.)
Wouldn't vote (vol.)
No opinion
38%
35%
4%
1%
1%
22%


10. Which one are you leaning toward right now?

Earley
Dolan
None (vol.)
Other (vol.)
Wouldn't vote (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
42%
37%
6%
0%
1%
14%


11. Considering everything, do you have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of: (Note: Pollsters read the survey respondents the following names):


A. Douglas Wilder
B. Donald Beyer
C. James Gilmore
D. Charles Robb
E. John Warner
F. George F. Allen
Favorable
51%
63%
60%
54%
59%
60%
Unfavorable
38%
21%
27%
35%
31%
26%
No opinion
11%
16%
13%
11%
10%
13%


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

Approve
Disapprove
No opinion
67%
26%
7%


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

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Not so good
  • Poor

Total Excellent/Good
Excellent
Good

Total Not good/Poor
Not so good
Poor

No opinion

82%
15%
68%

17%
13%
4%

1%


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

Better off
Worse off
About the same
No opinion
57%
21%
21%
1%


15. How much of the time do you think you can trust the (read item) to do what is right: just about always, most of the time or only some of the time?


A. Virginia state
government
B. The government
in Washington
Always
6%

2%

Most
47%

23%

Some
45%

66%

None (vol.)
1%

7%

No opinion
1%

1%


16. Out of every dollar the state of Virginia collects in taxes, how many cents do you think are wasted?

None
1-10 cents
11-20 cents
21-30 cents
31-40 cents
41-50 cents
51-75 cents
More than 75 cents
No opinion
4%
13%
13%
22%
8%
17%
7%
7%
10%


17. What is the biggest problem facing Virginia today -- the one you would like the next governor of Virginia to work hardest to solve?

Drugs
Crime -- Generally
Crime -- Violent
Transportation/Roads
Education
Economy/Unemployment
Taxes/High taxes
Growth/Development
Abortion
Gun control -- Pro
Gun control -- Anti
Decline in morals/Religiosity
Health care
Environment/Pollution
Budget/Finances/Deficit
Welfare
Other
None
No opinion
4%
6%
7%
5%
30%
8%
9%
1%
*
*
0%
1%
1%
3%
2%
3%
12%
3%
5%


18. Please tell me how important the following issues are in deciding how you'll vote for governor this year. Is the issue of (read items) 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. Eliminating
wasteful
state spending
Most
important

9%


25%

37%

18%


29%
26%


24%


One of
several

62%


64%

58%

72%


64%
50%


67%


Not
important

28%


11%

5%

9%


6%
23%


8%


No
opinion

1%


*

*

1%


1%
1%


*



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

Easier
Harder
No change (vol.)
No opinion
41%
43%
9%
7%


20. 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%
50%
40%
1%


21. Do you think the federal government should be doing more or less to control the sale and use of tobacco products, or don't you think the government should be involved in regulating tobacco?

More
Less
Government should not be involved
No opinion
41%
12%
43%
4%


22. Is the tobacco 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
3%
41%
56%
*


23. (Of those who named more than one or none:) You've mentioned the following issues as important to you (read items). Of all of these issues, which is the single most important one to you in determining your vote?

Improving transportation
and roads
Holding down taxes
Improving public education
Strengthening the state's economy
Reducing crime
Strengthening family values
and morality
Reforming welfare
Abortion issue
Tobacco issue
No opinion
3%

11%
27%
7%
16%
15%

10%
6%
1%
4%


24. Which of the following statements comes closest to your own views:

    A. We need a governor who can get the state going in a new direction.
    B. We need a governor who can keep the state moving in the same direction we're going.

Statement A
Statement B
No opinion
48%
48%
5%


25. (Of whose who say they need a governor who can get the state going in a new direction:) Does that mean you favor major changes in the way the state is heading or only minor changes?

Major
Minor
No opinion
42%
55%
2%


26. 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
48%
41%
11%


27. Do you think the candidates for governor have offered new ideas about how to solve the state of Virginia's biggest problems, or do you think the candidates haven't had any new ideas?

Have offered new ideas
Haven't had any new ideas
No opinion
35%
56%
8%


Now I'm going to read to you some statements people sometimes make about political candidates, and for each, I want you to tell me whether that statement describes the candidate whose name I mention very well, fairly well, not too well or not well at all? The first statement is: (read items): Does that phrase apply very well, fairly well, not too well or not well at all to Don Beyer? Does it apply very well, fairly well, not too well or not well at all to James Gilmore?

a. He has the right qualifications to be governor.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
71%
26%
44%

17%
11%
6%

12%

Gilmore
73%
25%
47%

16%
12%
4%

12%


b. He would hold taxes down.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
55%
16%
39%

31%
20%
11%

14%

Gilmore
69%
21%
48%

19%
12%
7%

12%


c. He would look out for the interests of people like me.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
60%
18%
41%

27%
16%
11%

13%

Gilmore
62%
17%
45%

26%
18%
8%

12%


d. He would keep the state's economy strong.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
65%
16%
49%

20%
13%
6%

15%

Gilmore
72%
22%
49%

15%
11%
4%

14%


e. He has high moral character.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
68%
27%
41%

13%
9%
4%

19%

Gilmore
70%
27%
43%

10%
8%
2%

20%


f. He would improve public education.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
70%
27%
43%

18%
11%
6%

12%

Gilmore
64%
17%
47%

23%
16%
7%

13%


g. He is an inspiring leader.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
59%
17%
42%

31%
20%
12%

9%

Gilmore
56%
12%
45%

33%
20%
13%

11%


h. He would protect the environment.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
64%
21%
43%

19%
13%
6%

17%

Gilmore
53%
10%
43%

29%
18%
12%

17%


i. He would look out for the interests of my part of the state.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
64%
21%
43%

25%
16%
10%

10%

Gilmore
59%
16%
43%

29%
20%
9%

12%


j. He would be good for business.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
69%
23%
46%

19%
12%
7%

12%

Gilmore
72%
22%
50%

16%
12%
4%

12%


k. He is neither too liberal nor too conservative.


Applies well: Total
Very well
Fairly well

Does not apply well: Total
Not too well
Not at all

No opinion

Beyer
60%
18%
42%

26%
15%
11%

14%

Gilmore
55%
13%
41%

32%
18%
14%

13%


29. I'm now going to mention two plans that have been suggested for cutting taxes in Virginia. (Read items.)

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

Favor
Oppose
No opinion
70%
26%
4%


30. How about (read item)?

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

Favor
Oppose
No opinion
60%
36%
4%


31. (Of those who favored both plans:) Of the two plans that I've mentioned, which do you most strongly support?

Plan 1 would cut the state personal property tax on cars and trucks on the first $20,000 of assessed value. The tax cut would be phased in over five years, and would cut state tax revenue by a total of between $1.6 billion and $3 billion.

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

Plan 1
Plan 2
No opinion
48%
50%
2%


32. Which view comes closest to the way you feel:

    Statement 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, transportation and road construction, OR
    Statement B. A cut in the state property tax would inevitably mean that spending on important state programs also would have to be cut.

Statement A
Statement B
No opinion
60%
34%
6%


33. Which would you prefer to see: A cut in the state personal property tax or: (read items)



A. Increased state spending on
public education and the schools
B. Increased state spending on
roads and transportation
C. Increased state spending on
police and law enforcement
Tax
cut

36%


65%


48%


Increased
spending

59%


31%


47%


Both
(vol.)
2%


2%


2%


No
opinion

2%


3%


3%



34. Do you favor or oppose state college affirmative action programs that include race as a factor that schools may use in deciding which students to admit?

Favor
Oppose
No opinion
25%
72%
3%


35. Do you happen to know if either of the candidates for governor opposes this type of affirmative action program? Which one?

Gilmore
Beyer
Neither (vol.)
Both (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
9%
2%
3%
1%
85%


36. Do you favor or oppose making it illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion after the first three months of a pregnancy, even if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest?

Favor
Oppose
No opinion (vol.)
36%
59%
5%


37. Do you happen to know if either of the candidates for governor favors prohibiting abortions after the first three months of pregnancy? Which one?

Gilmore
Beyer
Neither (vol.)
Both (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
13%
3%
3%
1%
81%


38. Do you favor or oppose the federal government regulating nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco, as a drug?

Favor
Oppose
No opinion (vol.)
49%
48%
3%


39. Do you happen to know if either of the candidates for governor opposes federal regulation of nicotine as a drug? Which one?

Gilmore
Beyer
Neither (vol.)
Both (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
7%
1%
2%
2%
87%


40. Do you favor or oppose letting school districts decide whether to let parents use state money in the form of vouchers to help pay to send their child to private school?

Favor
Oppose
No opinion (vol.)
36%
59%
5%


41. Do you happen to know if either of the candidates for governor favors a school voucher plan? Which one?

Gilmore
Beyer
Neither (vol.)
Both (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
20%
3%
2%
*
74%


42. Suppose that former Gov. Douglas Wilder endorses a candidate for governor. Would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for that candidate?

More likely
Less likely
No difference (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
22%
35%
40%
3%


43. In Virginia, do you think that conservative, politically active Evangelical or Born-Again Christians -- sometimes called members of the Religious Right -- have too much influence, too little influence or about the right amount of influence in state politics?

Too much
Too little
Right amount (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
42%
17%
35%
6%


44. In Virginia, do you think that Northern Virginia -- that is, the Virginia counties near Washington, D.C. -- has too much influence, too little influence or about the right amount of influence in state politics, compared to other areas of the state?

Too much
Too little
Right amount (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
50%
10%
33%
7%


45. In your opinion, does money have too much, too little or about the right amount of influence in who wins elections for state offices?

Too much
Too little
Right amount (vol.)
No opinion (vol.)
83%
2%
14%
1%


46. Would you favor or oppose limits on how much individuals and organizations may contribute to political campaigns for state offices in Virginia?

Favor
Oppose
No opinion (vol.)
76%
22%
3%



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