Roanoke College: Public Weighs in on Important Issues in Virginia

Dec 21, 2010, 14:52 ET from Roanoke College

SALEM, Va., Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- In anticipation of the 2011 General Assembly session in Virginia, the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College conducted a statewide survey of 601 residents on fiscal and other issues.

A plurality of residents (46%) think sessions of the General Assembly are too short in duration, while about one-third (34%) think they are the right length.  More than half of the respondents (56%) think that members of the Assembly are compensated appropriately, and slightly more think they are paid too much (22%) rather than too little (18%). 

A large majority of respondents (83%) trust the state government to do what is right at least some of the time, but they are split on whether the state is heading in the right direction (45%) or if things have gotten off track (43%).  Over half of those interviewed (57%) approve of the job Bob McDonnell is doing as Governor.

A majority of respondents (57%) think that government is trying to do things that should be left to individuals and businesses, while 34% think government should be doing more.  Residents prefer a government that provides fewer services with lower taxes over a government that provides more services with higher taxes by more than two-to-one (68%-32%).

Most respondents (72%) preferred a combination of budget cuts and tax increases as a means of balancing the budget, but a quarter (25%) preferred budget cuts alone. Of those who supported some form of budget cuts, 82% still supported cuts even if it was a program that benefitted them.  Similarly, 79% supported a tax increase even if it was one that they would have to pay. 

Presented with a scenario in which there had to be budget cuts, respondents were offered a choice of areas to cut -- education (27%), health and human services (39%), public safety (29%), "all other items" (83%), and across-the-board cuts (52%). 

Presented with a scenario in which there had to be tax increases, respondents were offered a choice of taxes to increase -- the sales tax (58%), personal income tax (41%), business income tax (55%), cutting the state's subsidy for the personal property tax (46%), and the gas tax (42%). 

For full results and details visit:

SOURCE Roanoke College