Washington Post Poll

This Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone September 12 to 16, 2012, among a random sample of 1,104 adults in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Interviews were conducted on conventional and cellular telephones, and carried out in English and Spanish by Abt-SRBI of New York. The results from the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; it is four points for the samples of 934 registered voters and 847 likely voters.

*= less than 0.5 percent

1. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) How closely are you following the 2012 presidential race: very closely, somewhat closely, not so closely, or not closely at all?

              ---- Closely -----   ---- Not closely -----     No
              NET   Very   Smwt.   NET   Not too   At all   opinion
9/16/12  RV   89     50     39     11        7        4        *
10/25/08 RV   92     62     30      7        5        2        1           
9/21/08  RV   93     58     35      7        6        1        *  

2. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) I'd like you to rate the chances that you will vote in the presidential election in November: Are you absolutely certain to vote, will you probably vote, are the chances 50-50, or less than that?

                                                     Don't think  Already 
              Certain  Probably  Chances  Less than   will vote    voted   No
              to vote    vote     50/50     that       (vol.)     (vol.)   op.
9/16/12  RV     89        4         4         3            0        NA      *
10/25/08 RV     88        4         2         1            1         5      0
9/21/08  RV     88        6         5         2            *        NA      *

3. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) If the presidential election were being held today and the candidates were (Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the Democrats) and (Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the Republicans), for whom would you vote? Would you lean toward (Obama) or toward (Romney)?

NET LEANED VOTE PREFERENCE – registered voters

                              Other    Neither    Would not     No
             Obama   Romney   (vol.)    (vol.)   vote (vol.)   opin.
9/16/12 RV     50     43        1         3           1          1    
5/2/12  RV     51     44        1         2           *          2 
5/4/11  RV     50     44        *         2           1          4 

NET LEANED VOTE PREFERENCE – likely voters

                              Other    Neither    Would not     No
             Obama   Romney   (vol.)    (vol.)   vote (vol.)   opin.
9/16/12 LV     52     44        1         2           0          1    

4. (IF SUPPORT OBAMA OR ROMNEY) Will you definitely vote for (OBAMA/ROMNEY), or is there a chance you could change your mind and vote for (CANDIDATE NOT NAMED)? (IF CHANCE CHANGE MIND) Would you say (there’s a good chance) you'll change your mind, or would you say (it’s pretty unlikely)?

             Definitely   -Chance change mind -     No
              vote for    NET   Good   Unlikely   opinion
9/16/12  RV      85       14      5        9         1
10/25/08 RV      90        9      3        5         2
9/21/08  RV      81       18      5       12         2  

Barack Obama:

             Definitely   -Chance change mind -     No 
              vote for    NET   Good   Unlikely   opinion
9/16/12  RV      88       11      4        7         1
10/25/08 RV      91        7      3        4         2
9/21/08  RV      82       17      5       12         1  

Mitt Romney:

             Definitely   -Chance change mind -     No 
              vote for    NET   Good   Unlikely   opinion
9/16/12  RV      82       17      6       12         1

Compare to: John McCain

             Definitely   -Chance change mind -     No 
              vote for    NET   Good   Unlikely   opinion
10/25/08 RV      89       10      4        6         2
9/21/08  RV      80       18      5       13         2  

5. (IF SUPPORT OBAMA OR ROMENY) Would you say you are very enthusiastic about supporting (Obama/Romney) somewhat enthusiastic, not so enthusiastic, or not enthusiastic at all?

               --- Enthusiastic --   ---- Not enthusiastic ---     No
               NET   Very   Smwhat   NET   Not so   Not at all   opinion
Barack Obama:
9/16/12  RV    92     61      31      8       7          1          0
10/25/08 RV    97     70      28      3       2          *          0
9/21/08  RV    96     64      32      4       4          0          *  

Mitt Romney:
9/16/12  RV    85     45      40     14      10          5          1

6. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) How about if the presidential election were being held today and the candidates were {(Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the Democrats), (Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the Republicans)}, {(Gary Johnson and James Gray, from the Libertarian Party), (Virgil Goode and Jim Clymer, from the Constitution Party), and (Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, from the Green Party)}, for whom would you vote? Which candidates are you leaning toward?

NET LEANED VOTE PREFERENCE – registered voters

                                                 Other   Neither  Would not     No
           Obama  Romney  Johnson  Goode  Stein  (vol.)   (vol.)  vote (vol.)  opin.
9/16/12 RV   48     40       4       2      1      *        1         2          2

NET LEANED VOTE PREFERENCE – likely voters

                                                 Other   Neither  Would not     No
           Obama  Romney  Johnson  Goode  Stein  (vol.)   (vol.)  vote (vol.)  opin.
9/16/12 LV   49     41       4       2      1      *        1         *          1

7. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) For each item I name, please tell me how important it will be in your vote for President. The first is (ITEM). Will that be extremely important, very important, somewhat important, or less important than that?

9/16/12 – summary table*

                                    -- More Important --   - Less important -   No   
                                    NET  Extremely  Very   NET  Somewhat  Less   op.  
a. The economy                      93      54       39     7        6      1     *
b. Spending on the military         70      32       38    29       23      6     1
c. The federal budget deficit       78      43       36    20       17      3     1 
d. Medicare, the government 
   health insurance program for 
   seniors                          77      41       36    23       18      5     * 
e. Medicaid, the government 
   health insurance and long 
   term care program for certain 
   low-income adults and children   68      34       34    31       24      7     1
f. Immigration issues               52      19       33    48       36     12     1  
g. Social issues such as abortion 
   and gay marriage                 49      28       21    50       22     28     1
h. International affairs            71      27       44    27       22      5     2
i. Taxes                            76      34       41    24       20      4     *
*Full sample asked item a-e; half sample asked items f-g; other half sample asked items h-i.

8. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Regardless of who you support, which candidate do you trust to do a better job [ITEM] – (Obama) or (Romney)?

9/16/12 - Summary Table*

                                                     Both    Neither     No
                                   Obama   Romney   (vol.)   (vol.)    opinion
a. Handling the economy             47       45        1        5         2
b. Handling military spending       50       44        1        2         3
c. Determining the future of the 
   Medicare program                 52       39        *        3         5
d. Determining the future of the 
   Medicaid program                 55       37        *        4         4  
e. Dealing with the federal 
   budget deficit                   44       48        1        5         3
f. Dealing with social issues such 
   as abortion and gay marriage     54       34        *        5         6
g. Advancing the interests of 
   the middle class                 55       36        *        4         4
h. Addressing women’s issues        58       36        *        3         3
i. Handling taxes                   49       46        *        3         2
j. Handling international affairs   53       42        1        2         3
*Full sample asked items a-d; half sample asked items e-g; other half sample asked items h-j.

9. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Regardless of who you may support, who do you think better understands the economic problems people in this country are having – (Obama) or (Romney)?

                               Both    Neither     No
             Obama   Romney   (vol.)   (vol.)    opinion
9/16/12 RV     54      37        2        7         1  

10. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Now, turning to the U.S. Senate election in Virginia, if the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate were being held today, would you vote for (Tim Kaine, the Democrat) or (George Allen, the Republican)? Which one are you leaning toward right now?

NET LEANED VOTE PREFERENCE – registered voters

                             Other    Neither    Would not      No
             Kaine   Allen   (vol.)    (vol.)   vote (vol.)   opinion
9/16/12 RV    50      42        *         3          1           4
5/2/12  RV    46      46        1        NA          2           5   
5/4/11  RV    46      46        *        NA          2           6   

NET LEANED VOTE PREFERENCE – likely voters

                             Other    Neither    Would not      No
             Kaine   Allen   (vol.)    (vol.)   vote (vol.)   opinion
9/16/12 LV    51      43        *         2          *           4

11. (IF SUPPORT KAINE OR ALLEN) Will you definitely vote for (KAINE/ALLEN), or is there a chance you could change your mind and vote for (CANDIDATE NOT NAMED)? (IF CHANCE CHANGE MIND) Would you say (there’s a good chance) you'll change your mind, or would you say (it’s pretty unlikely)?

              Definitely   ------- Change mind -------     No
                 vote      NET  Good chance   Unlikely   opinion
Tim Kaine:
9/16/12  RV       76       21        9           12         3
10/26/05 LV       80       18        7           11         1
9/9/05   LV       59       40       16           24         2
9/9/05   RV       54       44       21           23         3

George Allen:
9/16/12  RV       76       22        4           18         2
10/26/00 LV       78       21       10           11         1
8/27/00  LV       68       28       12           16         3
8/27/00  RV       63       33       16           17         3

12. (IF SUPPORT KAINE OR ALLEN) Would you say you are very enthusiastic about supporting (Kaine/Allen), somewhat enthusiastic, not so enthusiastic, or not enthusiastic at all?

             --- Enthusiastic --   ---- Not enthusiastic ---     No
             NET   Very   Smwhat   NET   Not so   Not at all   opinion
Tim Kaine:      
9/16/12 RV   82     39      43     17      14         2           1
5/2/12  RV   75     24      51     24      18         6           2

George Allen:   
9/16/12 RV   82     37      45     16      14         2           2
5/2/12  RV   72     17      55     27      21         5           1

Compare to – 10/12/06 likely voters in Senate race: 

                   ---Enthusiastic----    --Not enthusiastic---    No
                   NET   Very   Fairly    NET   Not too  At all   opin.
a. George Allen    90     43      47       9        7       2       1
b. James Webb      84     25      60      15       12       3       *

10/26/05 likely voters in governor’s race:

a. Tim Kaine       86     30      56      13       11       2       1
b. Jerry Kilgore   85     27      58      14       13       2       1

13. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Again thinking ahead to U.S. Senate race in Virginia, what is the single most important issue in your vote between Kaine and Allen?

                                9/16/12
Economy                           29  
Jobs/unemployment                 10
Education                          5
Taxes                              5
Health care/Obamacare              3
State budget deficit               3
Abortion                           2
Beating Obama/electing Romney/
 Supporting the Republicans        2
Transportation/traffic/roads 
 and transit                       2
Social Issues                      2
Spending                           2
Women’s issues/women’s health      2
Federal budget deficit             2
Beating Romney/re-electing Obama/
 Supporting the Democrats          1
Environment                        1
Ethics/honesty/corruption 
 in government                     1
Experience                         1
Helping the middle class           1
Medicare                           1
Gay marriage                       1
Afghanistan/War in Afghanistan     *
Banks/Financial institutions       *
Foreign policy                     *
Gas/oil prices                     *
Global warming                     *
Guns/Gun control                   *
Iran/Situation in Iran             *
Immigration/illegal immigration    *
Morals/family values               *
Social Security                    *
Terrorism/national security        *
Other (SPECIFY)                   11
No opinion                        13

14. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Do you think things in this country (are generally going in the right direction) or do you feel things (have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track)?

                Right     Wrong     No
              direction   track   opinion
9/16/12  RV      41        56        3 
5/2/12   RV      32        65        3
5/2/12           31        66        3
5/4/11           31        65        4
8/14/09          37        58        5
9/21/08  RV      15        83        3
10/26/05 LV      34        64        3

15. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

              -------- Approve --------   ------- Disapprove ------     No   
              NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
9/16/12  RV   53       32         21      46         9        37         1
9/16/12       52       31         21      43         9        34         5
5/2/12   RV   50       32         18      47        13        34         2
5/2/12        53       32         21      44        13        30         3
5/4/11        52       29         23      43        12        31         5
10/25/09 RV   57       37         20      40        12        28         3  
10/7/09  RV   58       37         21      39        11        28         3
9/17/09  LV   53       38         15      47        11        36         1
8/14/09  RV   57       39         17      41        11        31         2

16. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy?

             -------- Approve --------   ------- Disapprove ------     No   
             NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
9/16/12 RV   51       29         22      48        8         40         2
9/17/09 LV   52       35         17      47        9         38         1
8/14/09 RV   51       31         20      47       11         37         2
8/14/09      52       32         20      47       11         36         2

17. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Have you personally been contacted by a representative of the [CANDIDATE] campaign, either by phone, in-person, or online asking you for your support, or not?

9/16/12 - Summary Table

            Yes   No   No opinion 
a. Obama    33    65        1
b. Romney   31    68        1

18. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob McDonnell is handling his job as governor?

             -------- Approve --------   ------- Disapprove ------     No   
             NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
9/16/12 RV   58       24        34       27        13        14        15
5/2/12  RV   58       18        40       36        19        16         7
5/2/12       56       18        39       35        19        16         8
5/4/11  RV   64       23        41       26        12        13        11
5/4/11       62       21        40       26        13        14        12

On another subject,

19. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Generally speaking, do you have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of (NAME)?

9/16/12 – Summary Table 

                  ------- Favorable -------   ------ Unfavorable ------     No   
                  NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
a. George Allen   51       17         34      35       16         19        14
b. Tim Kaine      54       22         32      34       16         18        11
c. Barack Obama   57       40         17      42       10         32         1
d. Joe Biden      50       24         26      44       12         32         6
e. Mitt Romney    47       25         21      49       14         34         5
f. Paul Ryan      46       25         21      42       15         27        12

Trend where available:

a. George Allen   

              ------- Favorable -------   ------ Unfavorable ------     No   
              NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
9/16/12  RV   51       17         34      35       16         19        14
5/2/12   RV   47       12         35      31       18         13        22
5/2/12        46       12         34      31       18         13        24
5/4/11   RV   52       16         36      28       15         13        20
5/4/11        51       16         35      26       15         11        23
10/12/06 LV   53       NA         NA      43       NA         NA         4
9/9/05   RV   58       NA         NA      28       NA         NA        14
9/16/97       60       NA         NA      26       NA         NA        13
9/28/93  RV   43       NA         NA      36       NA         NA        21

b. Tim Kaine      

              ------- Favorable -------   ------ Unfavorable ------     No   
              NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
9/16/12  RV   54       22         32      34       16         18        11
5/2/12   RV   41       13         27      41       22         19        18
5/2/12        41       15         26      39       21         18        20
5/4/11   RV   57       19         38      28       16         12        15
5/4/11        56       17         38      28       16         12        17
10/12/06 LV   67       NA         NA      23       NA         NA        10
10/26/05 LV   58       NA         NA      33       NA         NA         8
9/9/05   RV   55       NA         NA      25       NA         NA        21

c. Barack Obama   

              ------- Favorable -------   ------ Unfavorable ------     No   
              NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
9/16/12  RV   57       40         17      42       10         32         1
5/4/11   RV   54       34         20      43       13         29         3
5/4/11        55       34         22      41       13         27         4
10/25/08 RV   67       46         21      30        8         22         3

20. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) For each item I name, please tell me if it is a major reason for you to (support) that candidate for U.S. Senate, a major reason for you to (oppose) that candidate, or not a major factor in your senate vote?

9/16/12 - Summary Table
                                          Major       Major     Not a
                                        reason to   reason to   major    No
                                         support     oppose     factor   op.
a. Kaine’s work as chairman of the 
   Democratic National Committee            21          21        51      7  
b. Kaine’s performance as governor          36          23        36      5 
c. Allen’s performance as governor          32          19        41      8
d. Allen’s work in the private sector    
   on behalf of energy companies            21          17        51     11

21. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Will one reason for your vote for U.S. Senate be to express (support for) President Obama, to express (opposition to) Obama, or is Obama not a factor in your choice?

              Support   Opposition   Obama not a factor   No opinion
9/16/12  RV     28          20                50               2
5/4/11   RV     26          21                51               2
5/4/11          27          20                50               2

Compare to “express support for/opposition to Bush” 2006: 
10/12/06 LV     12          25                63               *

Changing topics,

22. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) As you may know, a health reform bill was signed into law in 2010. Given what you know about the health reform law, do you have a generally (favorable) or generally (unfavorable) opinion of it? Is that a very [favorable/unfavorable] or somewhat [favorable/unfavorable] opinion?)

             ------- Favorable -------   ------ Unfavorable ------     No   
             NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
9/16/12 RV   46       28         19      47       15         32         7

Next, I have a few questions about the Medicare program, the government health insurance program for seniors

23. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Would you say the current Medicare program is working well for most seniors, or not?

             Medicare is     Medicare is not     No
             working well     working well    opinion
9/16/12 RV        64                27          10

24. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Do you think (changes need to be made to the Medicare program to keep it sustainable for the future), or do you think (the Medicare program will basically be fine if we leave it as is)?

             Medicare needs to be changed     Medicare is fine       No
                to keep it sustainable      if we leave it as is   opinion 
9/16/12 RV                76                          18              6

25. (AMONG THOSE WHO SAY CHANGES NEEDED) Do you think we need to make (major) changes or (minor) changes to Medicare to keep it sustainable for the future?

             Major changes   Minor changes   No opinion
9/16/12 RV        53               41             6

26. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Which of these two descriptions comes closer to your view of what Medicare should look like in the future? (OPTION A: Medicare should continue as it is today, with the government guaranteeing all seniors the same set of health insurance benefits), or (OPTION B: Medicare should be changed to a system in which the government guarantees each senior a fixed amount of money to help them purchase coverage either from traditional Medicare or from a list of private health plans)?

                Option A             Option B        Other      No
            Medicare continue   Medicare privatize   (vol.)   opinion
9/16/12 RV         56                   35              2        6

27. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Which comes closer to your opinion – (if policymakers made the right changes, they could reduce the federal budget deficit without reducing Medicare spending) or (in order to significantly reduce the federal budget deficit policymakers will need to reduce Medicare spending)?

             Policymakers can reduce    Medicare spending needs    
             deficit without reducing   to be reduced in order      No
                 Medicare spending       to reduce the deficit    opinion
9/16/12 RV               73                        21                7

28. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Do you think it should be LEGAL or ILLEGAL for gay and lesbian couples to get married?

             --------- Legal ---------   -------- Illegal --------     No
             NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
9/16/12 RV   49       33         16      40        8         32        12
5/4/11  RV   46       31         15      43        8         35        11
5/4/11       47       30         17      43        8         35        11

29. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?

                ------ Legal ------   ----- Illegal -----
                       All    Most          Most     All      No
                NET   cases   cases   NET   cases   cases   opinion
9/16/12  RV     60     29      31     36     24      12        4
5/2/12   RV     61     25      35     36     22      14        3
5/2/12          59     26      33     38     22      16        3
5/4/11   RV     54     18      36     39     26      13        7
5/4/11          53     17      36     40     26      14        6
10/7/09  LV     59     24      35     38     27      11        3
9/17/09  LV     58     19      40     39     27      12        3
8/14/09         55     18      37     42     26      16        3
9/21/08  RV     60     22      38     38     25      12        3
6/3/07          55     18      37     40     25      15        4 
10/26/05 LV     61     21      39     38     28      10        2
9/9/05   RV     55     21      35     43     28      15        2  
10/25/01 LV     57     21      36     39     28      11        4
8/23/01  RV     57     21      37     39     27      12        3
10/26/00 LV     58     18      40     38     27      12        4
8/27/00  RV     57     18      39     38     26      12        5

30. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) I’ll now read a list of potential Virginia gubernatorial candidates. For each, please tell me if you would definitely vote for him in the November 2013 general election next year if he were on the ballot, if you would consider voting for him or if you would definitely NOT vote for him?

If (INSERT) were the Democratic nominee for governor, would you definitely vote for him in November 2013, would you consider voting for him or would you definitely not vote for him?

9/16/12 – summary table

                     Definitely     Would     Definitely     No 
                        would      consider    would not    opinion
a. Terry McAuliffe        7          33          28         32
b. Mark Warner           29          39          22         10

Now on the other side,

31. (AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS) If (INSERT) were the Republican nominee for governor, would you definitely vote for him in November 2013, would you consider voting for him or would you definitely not vote for him?

9/16/12 – summary table

                     Definitely     Would     Definitely     No 
                        would      consider    would not    opinion
a. Ken Cuccinelli       12          32          41         15
b. Bill Bolling          7          41          30         22

901. Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as (a Democrat), (a Republican), an independent or what? IF NOT DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN: Do you lean more towards the (Democratic Party) or (Republican Party)?

                                                            -Non-Partisans--
                                                            Lean  Lean   No
          Democrat  Republican  Independent  Other  No op.  Dem.  Rep.  Lean
9/16/12  LV  35         26          33         5      1      16    16    11 
9/16/12  RV  33         26          35         5      1      16    17     8
9/16/12      32         24          35         5      4      16    16    11
5/2/12       31         25          36         5      2      17    15    10
5/2/12   RV  31         27          36         5      2      16    16     9
5/4/11       31         22          36         7      4      17    17    11
5/4/11   RV  32         24          35         6      3      15    17    10

***END***

© The Washington Post Company