|FROM:||YG Virginia Director Michael Lowry|
|DATE:||November 9, 2013|
|RE:||Virginia Post-Election Survey|
While elections have been happening in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1619, it’s fair to say that Tuesday’s results were among the most hotly contested and closely observed in our history.
Over several election cycles, Virginia has emerged as a bellwether state, and Virginians’ attitudes today provide valuable insights not only within our borders, but also into the national public policy landscape.
That’s why YG Virginia—a project of YG Network, a non-profit 501(c)(4) dedicated to broadening the Young Guns movement by promoting next-generation conservative policies—commissioned a poll of actual Virginia voters on the evening of Election Day.
At our request, McLaughlin & Associates surveyed 600 Virginia gubernatorial election voters on the evening of November 5th regarding their 2013 ballots and a variety of other timely issues. The margin of error for this poll is +/- 4 percent.
As YG Virginia prepares to advocate for our center-right public policy agenda in the Commonwealth’s upcoming legislative session, we want to understand where our fellow Virginians stand on our areas of focus, such as economic growth, jobs and wages, taxes, regulations, education and healthcare.
Our poll findings provide us with this valuable insight, and also provide the public with the most detailed and scientific evaluation yet of Virginia’s 2013 elections.
In analyzing this wide-ranging survey, our main conclusion is that conservatives are most likely to succeed in the policy arena when they unite around an agenda that addresses middle-class pocketbook issues, while remaining true to core conservative principles.
Here are some of the findings that led us to that conclusion:
1) Virginians are overwhelmingly concerned with pocketbook economic issues:
Nearly eight in ten (79 percent) agree that the candidates in the Governor’s race should have focused more on economic and pocketbook issues, such as creating jobs, reducing taxes and making Virginia more competitive. Identical proportions (77 percent) of both liberals and conservatives agree with this assertion, while, at 82 percent, moderates were most likely to agree.
2) Conservatives must unite the base and win a plurality of moderates:
In Virginia, conservatives outnumber liberals 41 percent to 23 percent. One in three Virginians (34 percent) are true moderates. Conservatives need 80 percent or higher support among their own conservative base (Ken Cuccinelli earned 83 percent), but they also need a 40 percent or higher plurality among moderates. Among moderates, Cuccinelli earned 28 percent, while Terry McAuliffe took 58 percent and Libertarian Robert Sarvis took 14 percent. It’s notable that Virginia liberals do not enjoy much room for error, because on ideology they start out at an 18-point deficit.
3) There are conservative economic policies that have broad support among most groups:
Greater than three in four (77 percent) favor “reducing regulations and taxes on small businesses to create jobs,” including 52 percent who “strongly” favor this proposal, while only 16 percent oppose it. This earns widespread ideological approval, with 89 percent of conservatives, 75 percent of moderates and 61 percent of liberals favoring this proposal.
Meanwhile, three in four (75 percent) agree that “allowing the private sector to grow the economy would enable business owners to give meaningful raises to workers,” while only 17 percent disagree. Again, there is broad support across the ideological spectrum, as 86 percent of conservatives, 68 percent of moderates and 65 percent of liberals agree.
Additionally, two in three (67 percent) agree with the statement that “Virginia has a great diversity of energy resources available. To meet our energy needs, we should expand offshore drilling and increase energy exploration on federal lands.” Just 27 percent disagree. On this, 84 percent of conservatives and 62 percent of moderates agree, while liberals disagree by a 52 percent to 43 percent margin.
Many in the public and the news media will be interested in some of YG Virginia’s findings on questions such as…
- What impact did Obamacare and its botched rollout have on voters’ decisions?
- What role did the government shutdown have in voters’ decisions?
- What were voters’ top reasons for supporting or opposing the gubernatorial candidates?
- How big was the “gender gap,” and how did that gap vary between single and married women?
- Who were the voters that supported Libertarian Robert Sarvis?
- Would a different Republican gubernatorial nominee have produced a different electoral outcome?
- What are Virginians’ attitudes toward President Obama, the Tea Party, and nationally known figures such as Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Cruz?
- Do Virginians believe America is on the wrong track or headed in the right direction?
The answers to all of these questions will help shape public policy in Virginia and across the country.